Bafana Bafana left-back Lyle Lakay has detailed what he thinks separated them from France during Tuesday’s international friendly match at Stade Pierre-Mauroy.
The reigning world champions resoundingly won 5-0 with Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe grabbing a brace.
Lakay shed some light on the gulf between South Africa and France while giving examples of instances of it he personally experienced in the match.
“The level is higher and it was evident, the gap is bigger compared to the PSL,” Lakay told Safa media.
“I spoke to the guys and said they [France] are always a second or two quicker than us and that makes a huge difference. I would say we learnt, it was a lesson. We can gain from the experience irrespective of the result.
“Most of us watch them]on TV every weekend. Like I said, for myself, you can test yourself against the best even if you know on their level and you can see how far you can go.
“They were even moments like where I found myself in situations where my side was overloaded being two against one. In the beginning, it was me and the wing-back [Jonathan] Clauss and then you have [Antoine] Griezmann identifying the space behind our midfield.
“In Africa, it is not every day where you find players scanning for such situations like that and finding pockets and spaces. That’s one example why we say the level and gap between us and them is big. For them to identify the space it's not every day you see that.”
Lakay insists on the takeaways from the match as he chooses not to read much into the result.
“So we take it as a learning experience but it was also something memorable for us to play irrespective of the result,” added Lakay.
“Anybody won't be happy with the result but the experience you take and can build on that. You can say that now I have played against people and I know what I have to work on and improve on.
“So it motivates you and tells you that you have to work harder. For me personally, I’m going to push more.”
Lakay now returns to Sundowns who are chasing glory on three fronts - the Caf Champions League, Premier Soccer League and Nedbank Cup.