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Date: 22 March 2019

  Zimbabwean - Soccer

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Bafana on track, despite goal drought

[Posted 15 Jan 2013]
[By Brighton Mupangavanhu]
Dikgacoi should be fit to play a key role for Bafana against Cape Verde on 19 January
Bafana Bafana's preparations for the Orange Africa Cup of Nations 2013 finals which they are hosting appear to be going on well and according despite firing blanks infront of goals in their past two friendly matches, according to their coach Gordon Igesund.

South African controlled both matches, one friendly against Norway in South Africa which they unfortunately lost 0-1 and a 0-0 draw against Algeria who are ranked 19th in the world.

Against Norway, Bafana were dominant, and Thuso Phala made a big statement about how crucial he will be to South Africa's chances of impressing on home soil. His pace, dribbling skills may trouble many an opponent at this upcoming tournament.

However the on-demand Platinum Stars midfielder appeared to have run out of ideas against Algeria despite making some promising and threatening runs. Phala came up against opposition that appeared to have carefully studied his movements with the ball.

Nonetheless, Bafana showed that they can dominate with the ball, and in Bernard Parker's form and Katelgo Mphela's predatory instincts, they could transform their firepower which has to date drawn blanks in the past two friendlies.

Igesund is not too concerned about lack of goals at this stage and appears to be pleased with his team's progression thus far.

"The goals I'm not concerned about, they will come because we are getting better and better," Igesund said.

"I'm happy because the team is showing the hunger and you can see their fighting spirit," said Igesund.

The four times championship winning coach in South Africa with four different team must have been encouraged by the dominant displays by his team which cont9oleed about 65% of ball possession on Saturday night.

Igesund will be hoping that against Cape Verde in the AFCON 2013 opening match, Thulani Serero would have found his match fitness to create those opportunities for his strikers.

In the absence of the retired Steve Pienaar, Serero is the heir apparent to the throne of creativity in a midfield which does not appear settled in terms of combinations.

Igesund has a problem in his midfield make-up. Who exactly is going to make up his four preferred midfielders?

Will the coach opt for grit in central midfield with Kagisho Dikgacoi and Dean Furman, two England-based players who are not renowned for their creativity? Or will he do the most sensible thing of dropping Furman, and go with Dikgacoi and Reneihlwe Letsholonyane in a central midfield pairing?

What about the wide midfielders? Is it going to be veteran Siphiwe Tshabalala or Thulani Serero wide on the left and Thuso Phala operating from the right? Whichever option Igesund goes for, it will have to depend on game plan.

If Bafana need ball players to unlock stubborn defences, then Serero could be the answer to Igesund's dilemma on the left channel of midfield. When he needs to solidify central midfield, playing Dikgacoi and Furman could be most sensible thing, with Serero drifting from left to fill the void left between central midfield and the strikers.

Igesund certainly has his job cut out for the opening fixture on 19 January. He may be almost settled in terms of his defence combinations, with captain Bongani Khumalo, Siyabonga Sangweni (twin backs), Anele Ngcongca (right back) and Tshepo Masilela (left back). Igesund may still brew a surprise and throw in young Thabo Matlaba on the left side of defence. 


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