South Africa gained a morale-lifting win ahead of the FIFA Confederations Cup, with an early Thembinkosi Fanteni goal giving them a 1-0 victory over Poland in a friendly at Orlando Stadium. The 25-year-old slotted into an open goal with six minutes gone, after Bernard Parker's scuffed shot had found a way past onrushing Polish goalkeeper Lukas Zaluska.
Bafana Bafana coach Joel Santana went into the game without star playmaker Teko Modise, sidelined with a leg muscle injury. And the Brazilian received a further potential blow with 15 minutes left when Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar limped from the field with a knock to his right ankle.
Santana hopes both will be fit when his side play the opening South Africa 2009 match against Iraq on 14 June at Ellis Park.
After Nasief Morris was ejected from the squad this week amid reports of ill-discipline, Matthew Booth lined up beside captain Aaron Mokoena in the heart of defence and turned in an excellent display, providing last-ditch clearances to a number of Polish attacks.
Santana picked what looked a rather negative team for this match, with three defensive midfielders in Kagiso Dikgacoi, Benson Mhlongo and MacBeth Sibaya. But it took his side just six minutes to go in front. Pienaar's excellent pass sent Parker clear, and his shot found its way to Fanteni, who tapped in at the back post.
Poland's best chance of the opening period fell to midfielder Slawomir Peszko, whose shot was initially fumbled by Itumeleng Khune. However, the goalkeeper reacted quickly to gather at the second attempt.
Fanteni shot over before a Pienaar free-kick almost found the head of Booth at the back post. Brazil-born striker Roger Guerreiro brought a good save out of Khune early in the second half, before Fanteni put Parker clean through on goal, but his weak shot went wide.