Itumeleng Khune praise for Darren Keet's Bafana Bafana showing


The national team registered a hard-fought 2-1 victory over The Mediterranean Knights in Sfax, Tunisia and subsequently secured their passage to the upcoming continental finals in Egypt.

It was South Africa’s first time qualifying for a major tournament since the 2015 AFCON under Shakes Mashaba, with many having since lost faith in the current generation of players under Stuart Baxter.

However, Khune stressed their desire from the start of the qualifying campaign back in June 2017 and, though he missed out through injury, lauded the efforts of the team as they successfully completed the mission.

“I’m happy for the boys, I’m happy for the team and I’m happy for the country. For us to have qualified for AFCON 2019 really shows how hungry we were,” Khune said on Sunday.

“We know we’ve hurt a lot of our people because they always say we don’t qualify for big tournaments but, since we started the qualification, we’ve really shown how hungry we are and how badly we’ve wanted to qualify.

“To have played six games, conceding only two goals and keeping four clean sheets is a massive achievement, and we just have to keep going, even as we play friendlies in preparation for the AFCON tournament.”

The 32-year-old also noted, with a considerable amount of pride, Keet’s brilliant performance in his absence as further gave credit to Libya’s valiant efforts.

“There were a lot of great performances from individuals, but what great saves he made to keep us in the game,” he added.

“Libya is not an easy team to play against, they came to South Africa and gave us problems and we went away to them and they showed that they can still play.

“But we wanted it more, hence the guys performed the way they did.”