Chabangu, Dikgakoi out

2013-01-23 00:00

BAFANA Bafana’s task of progressing through the group stages of the Africa Cup of Nations has been made tougher after it emerged yesterday that midfielders Lerato Chabangu and Kagisho Dikgacoi are unavailable for selection against Angola tonight.

The news was confirmed by coach Gordon Igesund, who said Dikgacoi had been hampered by a recurring knee injury and Chabangu was suffering groin strain.

Both players featured in Saturday’s disappointing 0-0 draw against Cape Verde. Dikgacoi started the match and was replaced by the more attacking Chabangu at half time as Bafana went in search of a winner.

“It’s unfortunate whenever a player is injured and it is a blow to the whole team,” said Igesund. “But we have enough depth in the team and quality cover in all areas so we have to get on with it.”

With the pressure firmly on Bafana to find the back of the net and win tonight, Igesund could have done with a fit Chabangu who showed glimpses of his creative ability on Saturday. With Thulani Serero not 100% fit, Bafana will more than likely look to Reneilwe Letsholonyane to unlock a solid Angolan defence in the first half while Serero will feature off the bench.

With Dikgacoi out, Oldham Athletic’s Dean Furman could get the nod to beef up the centre of the park. Oupa Manyisa is also an option.

Whether Igesund will select striker Katlego Mphela has also been a major talking points in the build-up to the match, but the coach was not keen to talk about his plans for tonight.

“I don’t really want to divulge too much information, but there will be some changes,” said Igesund.

“The changes are very positive and they needed to happen. Some guys have had their chance and we need to now look at the big picture and do what we can to win this game.”

Igesund had stated that his side suffered from nerves in their opening match, but he was certain that this match would not pose such problems.

“The players have to realise that they are professionals and are part of the national team.

“We are almost positive that this game will be a totally different type of game,” he said.

“There have been a lot of things to work on and one of those things was to talk to the players and tell them that there is no reason to feel stage fright. Everything is in our hands and there is no room now to panic.”

Tactically, there has been much for Bafana to work on in training this week.

“I’m looking for a much improved performance and for the team to keep possession of the ball for much longer,” said the coach.

“We need to be a lot more patient in our build-ups, get forward as a group and keep compact.”

Igesund said Bafana had done their homework on their opponents in tonight’s game. Angola are also on a point in Group A having drawn their opening match against Morocco,

“We’ve done a lot of work on them and have watched a lot of video footage on them, but the time has come for me to focus on my own team. We need to take the game to them.

“Obviously there are a couple of dangerous players in their team who we are aware of but it is up to us to create the situations and take the opportunities that we create,” Igesund said.

By yesterday morning there were only 1 000 tickets left for Moses Mabhida tonight, and Igesund and his captain, Bongani Khumalo, both emphasised the importance of the crowd.

“Obviously we are very grateful for the Durban support. Results here have been positive, but going into this game is a different environment,” said the captain. “We definitely need the support.”

Igesund was equally appreciative.

“I know it’s tough times for the supporters so I just want to thank them for sticking by us,” he said. “We are going to do everything in our power to make them happy.”

Tonight’s match kicks off at 5 pm and will be followed by Cape Verde vs Morocco, which kicks off at 8 pm.

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