22 January 2013

South Africa/Angola: Bafana Will Feel the Heat Against Angola

Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix
South Africa's Siyabonga Sangweni celebrates the host team's first goal - scored against Angola - at the Africa Cup of Nations finals.

South Africa will feel the heat again as they attempt to kick start their African Nations Cup campaign against Angola at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium on Wednesday.

A nervous Bafana Bafana buckled under the pressure in a limp display against the Cape Verde islanders at Soccer City in Johannesburg on Saturday. Now they have to deal all over again with the responsibility of igniting the tournament.

Angola are an even tougher opponent who also drew their opening match but looked the best of the four Group A sides on the evidence of the first day’s display.

Indeed, Angola might well have been at the top of the standings on Saturday had they not proven wasteful in front of goal in their match against Morocco.

Striker Guilherme Afosno and Manucho both missed a series of gilt-edged chances as Angola put on a strong display in the second half, proving a hard-running and enterprising team with a tough physical approach that will prove tricky for Bafana Bafana to deal with.

Manucho looks particularly dangerous up front in tandem with Geraldo and Mateus, who operate wide. They will test the Bafana defence a lot more severely than it was by the Cape Verdians. In that game, South Africa were their own worst enemy, allowing their nerves and anxiety to suck the energy out of them.

Bafana were also guilty once again of over-elaboration and of poor decision-making. The quality of passes and crosses was also poor. They can ill afford this kind of performance against an Angolan side who will capitalise on mistakes.

“We have our destiny in our own hands," said Bafana coach Gordon Igesund on Monday as the team held its second practice day in Durban.

After Saturday's two draws, he added, "we are starting all over again and on equal footing. All teams have a point each and this means five or six points could get us through to the next round.

"We need to work hard. We have to change some things we did in our last match and approach Angola differently.”

South Africa are unbeaten in six previous meetings between the two countries, three of them wins and three draws.

But Bafana were fortunate to get away with a 1-1 draw when they played last in Tamale, Ghana in the 2008 Nations Cup finals.

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