Cape Town - New South Africa captain Dean Furman revelled in "one of the proudest moments" of his life by leading the team to 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualification in Durban on Saturday.
Shakes Mashaba's side beat Sudan 2-1 at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, where goals in each half from Thulani Serero and Tokelo Rantie were enough to guarantee the hosts top spot in Group A.
England-based Furman was named skipper on Friday night and faced the tough task of replacing predecessor Senzo Meyiwa, who was shot dead last month.
"It was an incredibly emotional week, but the spirit in the camp has been high," the 26-year-old said. "I was lucky enough to be selected as the captain by the coach, but I can tell you now there's many leaders out on that pitch.
"For me it was probably the biggest honour and one of the proudest moments in not just my career, but my life, to lead my country."
The Doncaster Rovers midfielder also dedicated the win to Meyiwa, who had taken the country to the brink of qualification with clean sheets in the four group matches he had played in.
A moment of silence by the 30,000-plus crowd had preceded the game for the ex-Orlando Pirates goalkeeper.
"Of course we dedicate this to Senzo, who was on our minds the whole week and definitely today," Furman said.
With 11 points, Bafana Bafana cannot be caught by either second-placed Nigeria or Congo, while their final qualifier in Uyo against the reigning African champions will be a mere formality.
Furman was nonetheless delighted to have helped the country qualify for a first major tournament since 2008.
"We are delighted with the victory, we knew what we had to do and we are going to the finals after such a long time failing to qualify," he added.
"This win will help us forget what happened at this very stadium when our hearts were broken after we defeated Botswana for Brazil 2014 but we still didn’t qualify because we were playing catch up back then.
"Today the difference is that it was in our own hands, and it was vital that we get it done. The next match is against Nigeria and we want to maintain our undefeated record by getting a win.”