|Lehlohonolo Majoro © Backpagepix
Following a spectacular opening ceremony to the 2013 African Cup of Nations, the first game was a rather dull and disappointing affair as the Group A match between South Africa and Cape Verde finished goalless at National stadium on Saturday night.
The first 45 minutes failed to produce the goal feast all South Africans were hoping for as Bafana Bafana struggled to create many clear cut opportunities in front of goal.
Instead, it was Cape Verde who looked the more threatening going forward, especially when playing through balls behind the slow looking Bafana central pairing of Bongani Khumalo and Siyabonga Sangweni.
Nonetheless, despite a poor finish to the first half, Gordon Igesund’s men did start the match brightly and were able to create a chance on goal as early as the second minute.
Some great work down the right flank by Thuso Phala saw him earn South Africa a free-kick which Siphiwe Tshabalala whipped into the box. Bernard Parker was able to lose his marker and get on the end of the cross at the front post, but he saw his six-yard header go narrowly wide of the target.
Eleven minutes later Tshabalala was at the thick of the action again, this time shooting at goal from a 30-yard free-kick. His effort, though, failed to really threaten the Cape Verde goal as Josimar Dias made a comfortable save.
The best chance of the match, in the opening 45 minutes, though, for either side, went the way of Cape Verde in the 15th minute.
Luis Soares was put through on goal with an inch perfect pass, but with just the Bafana keeper to beat he dragged his ten-yard shot wide of goal.
Soares was causing all kinds of problems for the South African defence and he was at it again in the 34th minute when he worked his way into the box after beating a couple defenders before firing into the side netting from 14-yards out.
Cape Verde definitely finished the half the stronger of the two teams as Igesund looked extremely frustrated on the sidelines.
The start of the second 45 saw Igesund make an immediate change as he replaced a disappointing Kagisho Dikgacoi with Lerato Chabangu, which gave Bafana more options in attack.
Still, chances were few and far between in the second stanza as neither side were able to play smooth passing football.
In the 56th minute Bafana did manage to create a chance on goal after a sublime ball from Reneilwe Letsholonyane saw Lehlohonolo Majoro through on goal, but he opted to cut back and play a pass across the face of goal which saw Tshabalala and ball smother by the keeper.
Again, however, it was Cape Verde who managed to create the best chance of the half in the 73rd minute. A cross from the right saw Ramos Heldon with a 12-yard header goal, but Itumeleng Khune produced a great save, flinging himself to his right to tip the ball around the post for a corner.
Sadly, the half filtered out without any more decent chances on gaol as the opening game of the 2013 AFCON finished goalless.
South Africa (0) 0
Cape Verde (0) 0
Bafana: Khune; Ngcongca, Khumalo, Sangweni, Matlaba, Phala, Letsholonyane, Dikgacoi (Chabangu 46’), Tshabalala (Serero 60’), Parker, Majoro (Mphela 68’)
Cape Verde: Vozinha; F. Varela, Babanco, Neves, Platini, T. Varela, Heldon (Silva 76’), M. Soares (J. Tavares 63’), Nivaldo, Mendes (Walder 86’), Carlitos