Bafana Bafana gave coach Stuart Baxter the best possible start to his reign with a 2-0 Afcon qualifier win over Nigeria.
Saturday’s victory in Uyo was South Africa’s first ever success over the west African giants in a competitive game.
Second-half goals from Tokelo Rantie and Percy Tau put the Nigerians away and ended their six-match unbeaten run.
It means Baxter has never tasted defeat at the hands of the Super Eagles in his two matches against them, after leading SA to a friendly win in 2004 during his first stint as coach.
And despite that winning feeling, Baxter warned Bafana that the work only starts now after a short preparation period.
The Brit says: “It is the way the victory was achieved which has been so emotional. The long trip to West Africa, the short preparation period and then go into the match and completely outplay the home favourites is something special.”
Bafana were impressive after feeling out the young opposition.
They took control of the game halfway through the first half and should have been ahead by the break when midfielder Themba Zwane hit the post.
SA, though, would take the lead just before the hour mark when Rantie headed in at the near post from a slick counter.
Zwane must have been cursing his luck when he was denied by the woodwork again two minutes later as Bafana went for the jugular.
Bafana’s rearguard kept things tight and got their second as Tau, on for Rantie, beat the offside trap sprinting onto a Keagan Dolly pass, rounded the goalkeeper and fired into an empty net with nine minutes to go.
Baxter adds: “They bamboozled the opponents, ripped them open with some fantastic one-two movements; that is typical South African football – dazzling and nice to watch.
“The good thing with such wins is they give hope for the future and we should build something special from here on. This can be a catalyst for great things to come.”