The 2013 Africa Cup of Nations hosts will be desperate for a win against the Angolans to reignite the tournament and inspire the public to dream of the knockout stage
Matlaba, Khumalo, Sangweni, Ngongca
Serero, Furman, Dikgacoi, Phala
Amaro, Massunguna, Zuela, Miguel
Djelma, Kivuvu, Dede, Gilberto
Bafana Bafana effectively have to restart their 2013 Africa Cup of Nations campaign when they entertain Angola at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Wednesday. The hosts were disappointing in their Group A opener versus Cape Verde, while South Africa's opponents, Angola, also drew 0-0 in their first match with Morocco.
The South African public were already doubtful of Bafana's chances due to their stuttering form and struggles to find the back of the net over the last year. Many fans are already disheartened and believe South Africa won't progress. However, Group A promises to be a close affair that can go down to the wire. With home ground advantage, Bafana still have a decent chance to reach the second round.
In their last five matches they have failed to score in four of them. The only goals coming in a 3-1 victory against minnows Malawi. Coach Gordon Igesund has always stated that he wants to play an attacking game, so he will not be changing his style mid-tournament. One cannot conclude that his attacking philosophy will not work yet, because he simply has not had enough time to drill his methods into the first team. After experimenting with selection, he only found his best eleven recently, and they need time to gel together.
To complicate matters the man he sees as his creative force is Thulani Serero. The Ajax attacking midfielder was not 100 per cent fit to start against Cape Verde. The same can be said of Bafana's most potent finisher, Katlego Mphela, who has only recently returned from a long term injury.
One area Bafana can improve on is their possession in midfield when Oldham Athletic captain, midfielder Dean Furman, is expected to return. It was previously believed that starting with both Furman and Crystal Palace midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi would be too defensive minded. However, these changes should be necessary for South Africa to win the midfield battle as they lacked steal against Cape Verde.
While South Africa desperately miss a match winner, Angola's main threat is exactly that, their prolific Real Valladolid striker Manucho. The former Manchester United player could be keeping Bafana defenders Bongani Khumalo and Siyabonga Sangweni up late at night.
Contrary to Bafana's form, Angola have won four of their last five matches, including impressive triumphs against reigning African champions Zambia and Cameroon. Angola's preparations begun early in South Africa to get used to the conditions. So this game could potentially be the trickiest for Bafana Bafana in Group A.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- The last time South Africa played Angola was during the 2008 Afcon, when Bafana came from behind to
earn a 1-1 draw.
The two teams also met in the 1996 and 1998 Afcon's, with Angola having never beaten the South Africans.
- Bafana beat Angola 1-0 on their way to lifting the 1996 Afcon when they last hosted the tournament.
- Angola have a mixed away record in their last 10 games, winning two, drawing four and losing four matches.
- Angola hosted the Afcon in 2010.
- Even though Angola have a celebrated attack they are ranked quite low at 78th in the world, while Bafana are ranked 85th - the worst position in Group A.