Perth Glory was beaten 1-0 by top flight club Amazulu FC at Mbombela Stadium, in the first game of the A-League side's South Africa tour.
A 37th minute strike from Bongane Mbhele was the only goal of the hard fought encounter.
"It was our first competitive game and considering they (Amazulu) are only two weeks out from the start of their season and we are still ten weeks away from the start of ours, I thought it was a pretty reasonable display and I was pleased with the fitness levels of our boys," Glory coach Ian Ferguson said.
"The opposition was good, but we put in a great effort tonight and although obviously we want to win all of our games, results are not the be all and end all at this stage.
"Getting our fitness levels up and working on combinations is what we’re about at the moment."
Perth gave five off-season signings a start with defenders Mchael Thwaite and Scott Jamieson and midfielders Adrian Zahra, Nicky Ward and Chris Harold included in the run-on side. "We'll get stronger and you have to bear in mind that we were also without the likes of Steven McGarry, Billy Mehmet and Shane Smeltz," Ferguson said.
"We will change the team around and start different personnel for our next game on Friday to make sure that we get the most out of what is a fantastic trip for us."
Perth faces Platinum All Stars in its next tour game.
Wellington Phoenix's recruitment under coach Ernie Merrick began with the signing of 22-year-old former Perth Glory goalkeeper Lewis Italiano.