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Igesund all smiles after narrowly avoiding Nigeria

Gordon Igesund called the draw for the African Nations Cup finals “fair’ but his relief at missing out on Nigeria was evident after Wednesday’s festivities in Durban.

“It’s a fair group to be in although it’s no easy walk in the park. Cape Verde are making their debut but they’ve just knocked out Cameroon and Morocco are a giant of north African football. `So it’s a good draw for us but this is a fairly good one for us. All of the draws were tough for the teams. We are happy with it.”

South Africa came close to being handed a potential group of death when, after they had been paired with the Cape Verde and tricky Morocco, they were then left with the option of either Angola or Nigeria, the team everyone said they wanted to avoid.

But instead of the Super Eagles, Bafana were drawn with the Palancas Negras of Angola, a country they have never previously lost to, to the audible relief of the home audience.

“It was touch and go there,” laughed Igesund.

Igesund said most important was the preparation of his side, who play the unheralded Cape Verdians in the opening game at Johannesburg’s Soccer City on January 19.

South Africa have played all of their three Group A opponents before in a total of 11 games and not lost a single one. They have beaten the Cape Verdeans twice Angola three times (with three draws) and Morocco twice (with one draw).

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