Evidence Makgopa bagged a brace on debut as Bafana Bafana beat Uganda 3-2 at the Orlando Stadium on Thursday evening.
Bafana kicked off a new era following Molefi Ntseki’s departure but head coach Hugo Broos and his assistant Cedomir Janevski were not available leaving Helman Mkhalele in charge of the side.
Ronwen Williams, Innocent Maela and Lebohang Maboe were the only remaining players from Bafana’s last line-up as the other eight players were all making their debut.
After a tight opening 17 minutes the Cranes snatched the lead as they broke on the conuter attack with Ibrahim Orit heading home Emmanuel Okwi’s cross at the back post.
Uganda had a golden chance to double their lead two minute later as Okwi caught a disorganised Bafana backline off-guard as he went through on goal from a long ball over the top, but he dragged his shot wide with only Williams to beat.
Bafana managed to sure things up at the back from then on as they went into the break trailing 1-0.
The hosts came out pressing for the equaliser and it eventually came as Evidence Makgopa came sliding in at the front post to poke the ball past the Ugandan keeper to level the scores with 62 minutes gone.
The South Africans then managed to grab the lead five minutes later as Bongokhule Hlongwane let fly from just outside the box, rifling his effort into the bottom left corner.
It was then 3-1 with just 8 minutes to play as Makgopa got on the end of a wonderful move before firing his shot across the goalkeeper and into the bottom left corner.
The Cranes pulled one back in the final minute of normal time as Abdu Lumala headed past Ronwen Williams from a corner kick.
Bafana though managed to see out the remaining few minutes to begin the new era with a victory.
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