Sibusiso Vilakazi came off the bench in the second half to change the entire look of the game as Shakes Mashaba’s new-look squad started the CAF Orange Africa Cup of Nations qualifier with a convincing 3-0 win over Sudan in Khartoum on Friday evening.
The South African Premier League’s Player of the Year came in for Tokelo Rantie and immediately made his presence felt when he poked home a simple tap in following a corner kick.
Moments later, he thumped home the second goal which left the Sudanese goalkeeper clutching thin air. Bongani Ndulula then made it 3-0 after receiving a good cross from Oupa Manyisa.
The scoreline however, could have been far bigger had the visitors utilised all their chances. But coach Mashaba said he was more than happy with the overall outcome.
With Sudan looking in disarray in the second half and with two goals down, first Bongani Ndulula failed to tap in from a very promising position and moments later Vilakazi could have completed his hat-trick as Bafana Bafana ran rings around the bemused hosts.
The match started tentatively as the humid conditions and bumpy pitch made sleek passing almost impossible.
But after weathering long balls by the home team in the opening minutes, Bafana Bafana enjoyed a lion’s share of possession in the second half and were full value of their hard-fought victory.
Dean Furman and Andile Jali were the most outstanding figures in the middle of the park dictating the pace and once Bafana had taken the lead they created a hosts of more chances and had the visitors been more accurate, could have made the scoreline massive.
For the entire second half, a near capacity crowd got frustrated as Sudan hardly created a clear cut victory, save for a late header which ricocheted off the upright but it was always going to be nothing more than a consolation.
South Africa return home this morning and will fly straight to Cape Town to start preparing for another tough encounter against reigning African champions Nigeria on Wednesday, 10.