South Africa coach Carlos Alberto Parreira was satisfied after seeing his team beat Colombia 2-1 in a scrappy FIFA World Cup™ warm-up at Soccer City on Thursday.
With the FIFA World Cup hosts due to play in the opening match on 11 June against Mexico at the rebuilt stadium, the Brazilian said he was pleased how his players responded to the frenzied atmosphere made by 75,000 supporters. "I'm happy that we have played here now because we could not start the World Cup without having experienced that atmosphere," he said.
"Colombia are a big team and there was excitement from beginning to end. I'm pleased with my players because they will face all these challenges against Mexico on June 11. We didn't play as well as the last game (against Bulgaria) but conditions were different - it was like a World Cup game."
Parreira added: "The boys fought well but lacked some experience in the last 10 minutes and should have kept hold of the ball more. But it is part of the learning process and we won."
"South Africa have a dynamic team who work hard," said Colombia coach Hernan Gomez. "Parreira is an experienced head coach and he has organised them well, but it is difficult to know how they will get on in the World Cup."
Bongani Khumalo, voted man of the match for a solid display in central defence, admitted the atmosphere had acted as an inspiration. "It's a great motivation for us to play in such a wonderful stadium and I think we will be used to it by the time we play Mexico," he said.
Parreira must decide on his 23-man squad after a friendly against Guatemala on Monday and admitted it will be a hard call, saying he would speak to each player regarding his decisions. "I'll talk to them face to face. This is the best way. They know the situation is that we can take only 23 players, but it is always a tough decision to kill someone's dream."