Bafana Bafana were brought down to earth with a heavy thud when Chile exposed the poor opposition that has in recent weeks falsely given reason to believe in the ability of Joel Santana and his boys to mix it with the best.
Some drastic changes will have to be made before the Confederations Cup kicks off in June if the country’s flag bearers are to entertain hopes of not just making up the numbers.
Coming on the backdrop of a deceiving record of five consecutive wins, Bafana Bafana were cruelly outplayed in just about every department, losing 2-0 to the South Americans.
The folly of raising hopes on the strength of results from the matches against Zambia, Malawi, Equatorial Guinea as well as depleted Ghana and Cameroon has been laid bare.
While there were flashes of brilliance from players such as Teko Modise and Lefa Tsutulupa, the truth is that the team is still way off international standards.
Even the few encouraging buildups in the midfield and scoring chances all paled into insignificance when the team failed to score a single goal.
Ranked number 30, Chile are several classes above 74th-placed Bafana Bafana but the reality is that this is the level of competition the national team should be bracing to meet in the Confederations Cup.
Drawn to tackle world champions Spain in the first round and possibly Brazil or Italy if they make it past the first round, the luxury of running rings around minnows as part of our preparations has to be abandoned.
Just as well that Santana is under no illusion about what needs to be done after watching his charges chase shadows for the better part of the game at Peter Mokaba Stadium on Wednesday evening.
”We need to play more matches against tough opposition as we prepare for the Confederations Cup and World Cup,” he said after the match.
It is also quite evident from that performance that the national team needs more time in camp to work on their own game plan.
Inspired by Udinense striker Alexis Sanchez, La Roja forced Bafana Bafana to adopt the electric pace of their game with devastating effect.
Lacking a player with the ability and sense to slow down the young visitors, the older South Africans simply failed to keep up and paid a heavy price for it.
This is the same brand of fast, attacking football that the team is likely to come up against when they take on a young Spanish side and the free-flowing samba that is Brazilian football.