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Page last updated at 13:20 GMT, Friday, 26 June 2009 14:20 UK

Santana satisfied with Bafana

South African fans watch their team take on Brazil
Bafana fans have seen a big improvement in their team

South Africa coach Joel Santana says his side have improved considerably during the Confederations Cup.

Bafana Bafana went down to a narrow 1-0 defeat by Brazil on Thursday evening in Johannesburg, earning praise from commentators and fans.

Santana thinks his team could prove competitive when they host the World Cup next year.

"We've improved a lot, it's been great for a lot of my young players," he said.

"It's their first competition at this level.

"That makes me very happy, it has been excellent preparation for the World Cup."

Santana said he was delighted with the steep learning curve climbed by his team at the two-week tournament, even though they scored only twice.

Joel Santana watches his side being beaten by Brazil
Coach Santana was happy with his team's performance

South Africa were beaten by a late free-kick by the five-time world champions at Ellis Park and the coach was proud of the team's performance.

"We played very well and it was great for our confidence," Santana said.

"We showed good discipline and great defence against a team who are five-time world champions and it was always going to be a difficult match."

Bafana had initially struggled under Santana - failing to make it to the last round of qualifying for the 2010 Nations Cup, but the Brazilian says his aim has always been the global showpiece next year.

"My task is to prepare the team for the World Cup," he said.

"Now I have my squad, I know all the players and their abilities.

There are two or three positions that need improving but what is important is that we have many more testing matches ahead of us."

South Africa will play friendlies against Serbia, Germany, Ireland, Norway and Iceland between August and October.

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see also
Brazil 1-0 South Africa
25 Jun 09 |  Internationals
Spain 2-0 South Africa
20 Jun 09 |  Internationals
In defence of the vuvuzela
19 Jun 09 |  African
World Cup: One year to go
11 Jun 09 |  Africa

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