Bafana Bafana got off to a perfect start under the reign of new head coach Molefi Ntseki.
South Africa beat Mali 2-1 in an entertaining 2019 edition of the Nelson Mandela Challenge held at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Sunday (13 October).
Goals from Man of the Match Dean Furman and substitute Themba Zwane were enough to see Ntseki register his first win in his first match for Bafana Bafana.
Bafana Bafana were without the injured duo of Lebo Mothiba and Percy Tau who both failed late fitness tests.
This was the fifth meeting between the two countries � with the head to head now standing at two wins for each nation, with one match drawn.
South Africa has now won two in a row � the last match was a 3-0 victory in a clash that took place in Gabon where Furman, Thulani Hlatshwayo, and Sibusiso Vilakazi found the back of the net.
In Port Elizabeth, perhaps it could all have been so different had Ronwen Williams had no saved a ferocious Mali strike.
Bafana Bafana's goal came in the 24thminute after the livewire Thulani Serero was brought down, and Furman made no mistake from the penalty spot for his second international career.
Zwane's goal was more like a training field technique � Thapelo Morena fed Thembinkosi Lorch who pushed it to an on-rushing Zwane, and he coolly slotted past the Mali keeper to give Bafana Bafana a two-nil lead at the stroke of half time.
The visitors pulled one back after piling on the pressure on the hosts � and were duly rewarded in th 74thminute.
Bafana Bafana held on for a win in a match that was used mainly to prepare them for the AFCON 2021 qualifiers against Ghana and Sudan next month.
The clash was also in honour of the late State President Nelson Mandela, where SAFA donated one-point-five million rand to the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund.
Source: South Africa Football Association