South Africa secured a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over Uganda in an international friendly match at the Orlando Stadium on Thursday evening.
Bafana Bafana’s three goals were netted by debutant Evidence Makgopa (brace) and Bongokuhle Hlongwane, while Ibrahim Orit and Abdu Lumala netted for the Cranes.
The two teams sized each other up in the early stages of the encounter with Emmanuel Okwi making dangerous runs down the right flank.
The newly-appointed Uganda captain was involved when the Cranes broke the deadlock 17 minutes into the game with the Bafana Bafana defence exposed.
Okwi was afforded time and space to deliver a quality cross into the South Africa box and Ibrahim Orit headed past goalkeeper Ronwen Williams at the far post to make it 1-0 to Uganda.
A mistake by Nkosinathi Sibisi, who failed to clear the ball away from danger just after the half-hour sent Okwi through on goal, but the Uganda star dragged his shot wide of the target.
Williams was called into action on the stroke of halftime and he denied Shafik Kagimu, who had unleashed a powerful shot from range and score was 1-0 to Uganda at the interval.
With his side having struggled offensively in the first half, Bafana’s local assistant coach Helman Mkhalele introduced Thabiso Kutumela and Evidence Makgopa prior to the start of the second half.
Ismail Watenga was finally tested when the Uganda shot-stopper made a smart reflex save to deny Innocent Maela five minutes after the restart.
The Chippa United keeper was then beaten when Kutumela set up fellow substitute Makgopa, who scored on his international debut for South Africa to make it 1-1 in the 62nd minute.
Bafana continued to surge forward and they took the lead three minutes before the hour-mark when Bongokuhle Hlongwane burst into the Cranes box, before firing past Watenga to make it 2-1 to South Africa.
The Cranes’ defence was struggling to contain Makgopa, who had a chance to grab his brace in the 78th minute, but the Baroka FC centre forward was bravely denied by Watenga from close range.
However, Makgopa was not to be denied in the 83rd minute as the 21-year-old fired past Watenga with a low shot after receiving a good pass from Sphelele Mkhulise to make it 3-1 to South Africa.
The Cranes did pull one back when Abdu Lumala scored with a header from close range in the 89th minute, but the goal proved to be a mere consolation for Uganda as South Africa held on to win 3-2 on the night.
South Africa (0) 3 (Makgopa 62′, 83′, Hlongwane 67′)
Uganda (1) 2 (Orit 17′, Lumala 89′)
South Africa: Williams, Sibisi (Makgopa 46′), Maela, De Reuck, Mabiliso, Farmer (Kutumela 46′), Brooks, Maboe, Martin, Mkhulise, Hlongwane (Modiba 86′).
Uganda: Watenga, Juuko, Kagimu, Kizza, Lwaliwa, Lwanga, Okello (Lumala 79′), Okwi (Mukwala 65′), Orit (Mugulusi 87′), Waiswa, Willa.