Football

Mokoena satisfied with draw

Mokoena satisfied with draw (©PAphotos)
Mokoena satisfied with draw (©PAphotos).

Aaron Mokoena is relieved to have got South Africa's opening match of the World Cup out of the way, insisting the result against Mexico must not be underestimated.

After being over-run for large parts of the first half in Johannesburg on Friday, Bafana Bafana transformed their game in the second period to come away with a 1-1 draw. Siphiwe Tshabalala's spectacular 55th-minute goal put them in front, but Rafael Marquez silenced most of the 85,000 Soccer City spectators with a calm equaliser 11 minutes from time.

"It was a good result for both teams," Mokoena said. "The Mexicans are a very, very difficult team. I think it was good to play against the Mexicans and get that game out of the way. I'm not saying the two upcoming games will be easy, but I'm saying that Mexico are extremely difficult to play against."

He added: "When they attack, they throw everyone out there and take many risks. But that's how they play.

"We managed to cope with them, we created many chances, we defended well as a team and we just have to build on this."

The Portsmouth defender was also adamant there were no early jitters, despite Carlos Alberto Parreira's men spending most of the opening 40 minutes in their own half.

He continued: "I don't think we struggled (in the early stages). We had to really make sure we could cope with their play because as I said they are a dangerous side.

"It is very important (to get the first game out of the way). I think we showed we have what it takes. It's not the end of the road, it's just the beginning of it and we have to build on this."

Mexico striker Carlos Vela thought differently from Mokoena, saying he felt the massive home support had worked to the detriment of the South Africans.

He said: "Yes, the people here definitely played a role. It's difficult for them playing like that and it's even more hard at the World Cup. As you saw there was a big crowd here and the pressure was big on us too."

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Aaron Mokoena

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