South Africa's midfielders are the villains on the night in a poor display from the hosts

Gordon Igesund has blamed his midfielder's inconsistency as the reason behind South Africa's lackluster display on Saturday night, as the side showed a lack of composure

South Africa were unable to break down a defensive-minded Cape Verde outfit on Saturday night, with the hosts looking more like a bunch of anxious individuals rather than a coherent football side.

It was the opening result many would have feared, a lacklustre and nervy affair by Bafana Bafana, who were once again devoid of inspiration in the final third. A crowd which tried its best to rouse the home side into action were left dismayed after 90 minutes of inept attacking play.  

Igesund told about how anxious his team was on the night, blaming their nerves for the disjointed display.

Played in damp weather, it was a rather dreary affair between the two sides, with Cape Verde creating the best chances of the match and South Africa threatening to breakthrough with their pace and movement up-front, but showed a lack of confidence and composure in every facet of  their game.

It was a classic 0-0 draw, where neither side looked intent to break the deadlock for the majority of the contest. Cape Verde should have opened the scoring through Platini, but he sent a low shot just wide after being released by one of the best players on the pitch, Lille’s Ryan Mendes.

Cape Verde looked content to hold out for a draw, while South Africa huffed and puffed throughout the game, with the team unable to gel and unable to work together on the night.  

Gordon Igesund summed up the performance after the match with, “We have got to be realistic and we need to be honest. Of course we wanted to score a goal; of course we wanted to get the three points. But to be honest, I don’t think we deserved more than a point tonight,”

The jury is certainly out on this side at the moment, a side which Gordon Igesund promised would deliver a fluid game up-front, capitalising on their passing ability and pace. But it was not to be for Bafana Bafana, as almost every player fluffed opportunities to shoot at goal, provide telling crosses or defence splitting passes.

One moment which was merely a representation of the home side’s lack of composure, was Lerato Chabangu’s heavy ball into the box in the second stanza. The Moroka Swallows midfielder, known for his accurate passing, had an opportunity to provide a ball into the area with around five players available to pick out, but he smashed in a pass which ran out for a goal-kick. It was a nervy moment deep in the second half, and a display of the lack of coherence in Bafana’s midfield.

Igesund told reporters after the match that he feels players were hiding on the pitch “The midfield players were not really looking for the ball; they were scared to get on the ball, scared to make a mistake.”

This was certainly the case and Bafana’s midfield was to blame for giving the ball away on numerous occasions. But Cape Verde made it difficult and were able to control proceedings in the middle of the park, by closing down South Africa and cramping them for space, which meant the team could not build sustained periods of pressure.

The introduction of top-scorer Katlego Mphela and Thulani Serero could not spark the side into life, even though Serero showed brief moments of his creative talent and vision, but these were few and far between.

The decision to start Majoro and Parker as South Africa’s attacking duo was justified due to their potent partnership for Kaizer Chiefs, but the strikers were not helped out by the villains of the night: the midfielders.

The midfield did not hold onto the ball or look to put together passages of play and looked rushed on the pitch.

“A lot of players didn’t come to the party, especially in the first half. We kept missing out our midfield. We kept knocking balls from the back trying to get to the front too quickly. Too many players were giving the ball away,” Igesund continued.

The coach has promised the country there will be goals against Angola, who were also unable to inspire during another 0-0 draw against Morocco. The result of the second game certainly keeps South Africa in the group and the second round of games will be vital for every side, in what is becoming another group of death.