23 January 2013

Uganda: Millions At Stake for Bafana Ahead of Angola Test

THERE is a big fat bonus pay dangling in front of the Bafana Bafana.

Each player stands to reap $135,000 (sh362m) if they can go all out and win the 2013 Orange Nations Cup. They also stand a chance of pocketing $65,000 (sh174m) if they can advance past the group stages.

So the guiding principles for the Bafana Bafana marching into tonight's make-or-break fixture against Angola at the Moses Mabhida Stadium are clear.

They simply have to beat the Palancas Negros to revive their campaign and overrun North Africans Morocco on Sunday to not only guarantee progress to the next rounds but put claim to the bonuses on offer.

"It is nice money and a good incentive. They must go out there and make the country proud," South Africa Football Association (SAFA) Chief Executive Officer Dennis Mumble stated.

It will of course not be easy for a Bafana Bafana side under immense pressure to come back from their frustrating opening draw against Cape Verde at the National stadium.

Although the grimy and rainy conditions during the game against Cape Verde are thought to have affected South Africa's play, their lack of firepower pervades all climatic conditions.

Some of coach Gordon Igesund's decisions were questioned. He chose to start South Africa's two best forwards Katlego Mphela and Thulani Serero on the bench, a move that back-fired in the end.

Mphela, nicknamed 'killer' is a man that never sits on opinion and made his feelings clear when he told media that: "If I am picked to start against Angola I think I am more than ready. I am prepared to step up to the plate. We have got quality strikers in the camp but I have played in these tournaments before and I am the more experienced so I think I can make the difference."

True, Mphela has been rusty after a return from a long-term injury but Bafana's third all-time top scorer has a reputation of producing in front of goal regardless of form.

With 23 goals in 47 games, he has a prolific strike rate that could prove the difference today.

But beside Mphela, South Africa will need heart and character to overcome an Angolan side spearheaded by star-man Manucho.

To contain Manucho, South Africa will have to follow instructions to the letter; avoid crosses because of Manucho's abilities to bustle forward and meet them. You remember in 2011 when he caught the Uganda Cranes' back-four flat to head in the first in the 2-0 loss to Angola in Luanda?

He has established himself at Spanish side Real Valladollid and will do the same in South Africa if allowed the opportunity to do so.

South Africa v Angola 6pm

Morocco v Cape Verde 9pm

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