Bafana Bafana convincingly beat Angola 2-0 at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Wednesday, with England-based midfielder Dean Furman picking up the Man of the Match award.
The Oldham Athletic midfielder has made only seven appearances for South Africa, his first being against Brazil in Sao Paolo in September last year, but has since become an integral part of the national team set-up and made his AFCON debut against the Leopards.
We spoke to him on the morning after the victory over Angola.
Q: A day after the big game, how does it feel?
DF: I am feeling good, it was a vital game for us that we get the three points, we are now in a commanding position in the group. Today is mostly about recovery and it is back to start preparing for the next important game against Morocco on Sunday.
Q: And how are you feeling after your Man of the Match performance?
DF: A bit tired, a few bumps and bruises here and there but nothing more than I am used to after every match. It was a good game and as a team we were very good, kept our shape but also had that freedom to express ourselves. I think we were just great and it was a pleasure to be involved and play a pivotal role.
Q: The mood in the camp?
DF: Fantastic, but even after the draw in the first match it was still very high and positive. The boys did not drop their heads. We were happy with the way the tournament started, it might not have been with a win but we had to build on that.
Q: The match against Angola, was it your best in a Bafana Bafana shirt so far?
DF: I think so, more so because all the other matches I have played before were friendlies. This one rates as very important for me and it meant a lot because it is Africa's premier tournament, so it was great to be involved.
Q: Any family watching in the stands last night?
DF: Sadly, no family member was around to watch, they were all in Johannesburg, but they were all watching on television from wherever they were so they must have been very delighted.
Q: So who did you celebrate with?
DF: I spent the whole evening on the phone talking to them, and they gave some nice positive comments and I hope we can get many more from the next coming games.
Q: Did you ever think you would be playing in this tournament at some stage in your career?
DF: It's like a dream come true to me, it's incredible. Just to be involved in the first game (against Cape Verde Islands) was unbelievable, and to play my first game (against Angola) was really awesome. I could hear the crowd getting louder and louder as the game went on, and the more exciting football we played the more they cheered us on. It's every player's dream to play in front of a crowd like that, it was just awesome.
Q: How would you differentiate between the two crowds from where you play in England and in SA?
DF: I wouldn't like to compare the two because they are very different but playing in front of big crowds is what you want to do as a player, there's nothing more satisfying than playing in front of a passionate group of supporters and yesterday was out of this world. The noise they made was almost like a party atmosphere and we are just pleased we gave them something to cheer about.
Q: What would you attribute yesterday's performance to?
DF: The players had self-belief in the camp, high confidence and yesterday things just fell into place. We are delighted with the way it went. Four points from two games which is a good return; we have to go and get three points in our next match and keep the momentum going.
Q: Your thoughts on Morocco?
DF: It's going to be a tough game, no matches in this tournament are easy and the next few days we will have to work harder to prepare for them. We must continue from where we left off against Angola with our attacking flare so that we come out victorious.
Q: How important is a win against Morocco?
DF: It is very important and we must approach every game wanting to win regardless of the permutations. We want to win every game because it is important for our confidence as a team to carry on winning, and it will give us great momentum going forward. A win will also ensure that we don't have to rely on permutations for qualifying to the next round.