Algeria will serve as a perfect test of Bafana Bafana’s credentials, with one week to go before the hosts kick-off the Africa Cup of Nations against the Cape Verde Islands
Algeria, ranked 19th in the world and 2nd in Africa will certainly provide Africa Cup of Nations hosts South Africa with a tough outing at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday night. Still reeling from a disappointing 1-0 loss against Norway, South Africa need a tonic to spark their Africa Cup of Nations campaign and to win over their fans.
South Africa will use the match as preparation for their vital clash against Morocco, who plays a similar style to their North African rivals Algeria.
Bafana Bafana is desperate for a morale boosting win to silence their critics a week before they kick off the Africa Cup of Nations, will have to face a powerful Algerian outfit which has been moulded into a disciplined side by Vahid Halilhodzic.
Ever since their disappointing 2010 World Cup campaign, Halilhodzic has focused on re-shaping his team, which Club Africain defensive midfielder Kaled Lemmouchia can only praise.
"We've been working really well for the past 14 months," the player said. "We've got a good, honest, young group, we've made progress and we really, really want to succeed.
“I experienced what it was like in the pre-Halilhodzic era and I can tell you that we've certainly made great strides in terms of pre-match preparation and training.
“He's a strict, demanding coach and to be perfectly honest, that suits the entire group down to the ground. He's changed people's mindsets: both the players and the administrators know that."
The Fennec Foxes’ form of six wins in eight matches in 2012 displays what Halilhodzic has been able to achieve with his young, talented side. Talent is abound in the Algerian outfit with the likes of Valencia winger Sofiane Feghoudi and St Etienne left-back Farouzi Ghoulam looking to fire during the Afcon.
South Africa will look to remedy their rustiness in front of goal, while Gordon Igesund will be keen to give his star creative player Thulani Serero another chance to shine. All eyes will be on the style of play Bafana Bafana employ against the Algerians, as Igesund attempts to enhance the hosts attacking force by focusing on pace and quick passing.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- This is the third time South Africa will play the Algerians, with their two previous meetings occuring during the 1996 and 2000 Africa Cup of Nations tournaments.
- South Africa beat Algeria 2-1 the last time they played them at home during their sucessful 1996 Africa Cup of Nations campaign. Their second meeting ended 1-1 during the 2000 Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana.
- Algeria won the Africa Cup of Nations in 1990 and have appeared in three World Cup tournaments, including the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
- This will be Gordon Igesund's 8th game in charge of Bafana Bafana and his second match against a team ranked in the top 10 of Africa.