Bafana Bafana players were devastated after suffering an unexpected 3-1 defeat to Mauritania.

Bafana Bafana players were devastated after suffering an unexpected 3-1 defeat to Mauritania.

This was in a CAF Orange Africa Cup of Nations Gabon 2017 qualifier played at the Olympic Stadium in Nouakchott, Mauritania on Saturday, 5 September 2015.

The dressing room after the match was very quiet as the players reflected on what happened.

SAFA Media spoke to Dean Furman before the team returned home to get his thoughts.

Matlhomola Morake: How would you describe what happened today?

Dean Furman: We are very disappointed; the game did not go according to plan. We found ourselves a goal down very early on and wanted to weather the storm. I felt we controlled the game but we were sloppy with the ball, tried to break down a team that had all the players seating behind the ball waiting for a counter attack. Our ball retention and use of the ball had to be far better than what we displayed on the day. Credit must also go to Mauritania, they played well managing to catch us on the counter attack with their second and third goals and the sending off which turned the game into their favour even more. We are highly disappointed with the result and it is important for us to put it right as soon as possible.

MM: And how are the boys feeling?

DF: It hurts to have to lose like that but we know the performance wasn’t good enough and that is why there were a lot of disheartened players at the end of the game but we are team, we are together in the good times and we stick together in the hard times but we will grow and also learn from this.

MM: How much did the red card affect the outcome?

DF: We started the second half in the ascendency with much of the play in their half. The sending off did sway things a bit in their favour especially because we were chasing the game. So it made things more difficult but I think the boys started fighting back and we picked up a little bit and we managed to get the equaliser which was a well-worked goal, just a pity that we couldn’t hang on to the point.

MM: It must be hard if you compare this campaign to the previous one?

DF: It is truly a disappointing start looking back at the last qualifiers where we were top of our group from the first couple of games so to be in a different position, at the bottom of the group is not where we want to be but we have the ability, the talent, and the team to put things right and that’s what we have to focus on going forward.

MM: That said, how important are the remaining four matches?

DF: They are massive, we have to be at our best to do well in the remaining matches if we want to be at the next AFCON tournament, in any case we have to be competing in the top tournaments and that starts now, we can’t look back because we know what position we are in, we know we only left with four games and we also know with the right results we can still qualify. So it is important for us to learn from what happened today and make sure it doesn’t happen again.