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Football | Bafana Bafana

Gordon Igesund with Thulani Serero © Backpagepix

Igesund urges Bafana to be brave



South African coach, Gordon Igesund, will be hoping his players don’t run scared in their second 2013 African Cup of Nations Group A match against Angola on Wednesday at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, kick-off at 5pm.

The Bafana coach was quick to point fingers at his players following what he thought was a disastrous start to the continental showpiece after his side not only misfired in front of goal in their 0-0 draw with Cape Verde, but more concerning is the fact that they struggled to create scoring opportunities.

Igesund felt his players were scared, and perhaps overwhelmed by the big occasion, and he admits the goalless draw has put more pressure on him and his side to get a win against Angola.

“The players looked like they were hiding against Cape Verde, scared to get on the ball, scared to make a mistake, we need to fix that very quickly. I need players to want the ball,” explains the Bafana coach.

“We didn’t miss chances against Cape Verde, we didn’t create enough chances. We didn’t have that creativity in the midfield, we have to look at that and fix it right away.

“We have two games left, starting with Angola, and we need to win them now. We have put ourselves under pressure. We need to rectify the mistakes we made against Cape Verde and I think we can do that.”

One of the biggest problems cited by Igesund following their opening match was the absence of his midfield influence which resulted in Kagisho Dikgacoi being subbed at halftime which would possibly suggest a change in the starting XI for the Angolan match.

“(Against Cape Verde) we didn’t create enough. We had no creativity in the middle of the park and it cost us,” added Igesund. “There was a big gap between the midfield and the strikers in the opening match. We tried to get the ball to the strikers to quickly, long balls over the top which we don’t normally do.”

Still, the South African mentor remains positive that his side can qualify for the knockout stages of the competition and he has encouraged the nation to remain positive as well.

“We have to be realistic and we have to be honest. Of course we wanted to score and win the game (against Cape Verde). We got a point and I don’t think we deserved more than that,” said Igesund.

“It is not the end of the world and we have a lot of work to do before Wednesday and our next game, but we must remain positive and we need the nation behind us.”

In the Angolan camp, much like the Bafana coach, the Palancas Negras’ coach, Gustavo Ferrin, was also upset with his side’s 0-0 draw in their opening Group A match against Morocco because he felt they were never really tested in defence and wasted too many decent goal scoring opportunities.

“We were not really tested in defence against Morocco,” said Ferrin.

“Our team played in accordance with situation we were facing against Morocco. We had many things in our favour, we had chances to score, but we did not take them.

Now, we have to recover, we must improve and do better in the next match against South Africa.”

Going into the game much will be expected of Angola’s captain and Real Valladolid striker, Manucho, who missed a number of scoring opportunities in his side’s first game. If South Africa does not keep a close eye on him, he very well may punish a Bafana defence that has looked vulnerable at times.

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