|Gordon Igesund © Gallo Images
Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund says that his players froze on the occasion as South Africa drew 0-0 with Cape Verde at the National Stadium on Saturday night.
The host nation of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations struggled to penetrate a stubborn Cape Verde defence.
Bafana lacked fluency in their build-up play as the midfield of Kaizer Chiefs duo Reneilwe Letsholonyane and Siphiwe Tshabalala, together with Kagiso Dikgacoi and Platinum Stars’ Thuso Phala failed to create chances for AmaKhosi strikers Bernard Parker and Lehononololo Majoro.
Igesund admitted himself that his side lacked spark, believing that the enormity of the occasion - the tournament opener was played in front of an expectant near full-house in Soweto, overwhelmed his charges.
“The guys looked like they were panicking, everything was 100 miles per hour. We needed to put our foot on the ball, pass the ball around, which we only did in the second half. The first half for me was a complete waste of 45 minutes,” said the former Absa Premiership coach.
With tough matches ahead against Angola and Morocco, who also drew 0-0 in their Group A opener, composure on the ball will be crucial for Bafana Bafana.
“We need to be more comfortable on the ball, we have got so many skilful players on the ball, but today the first touch [was not there].
“The nerves meant they did not get their foot on the ball and keep it. We had worked so hard, and were looking good [ahead of the game], but when the whistle blew, it was like everybody froze.
“We need to start playing the way we can play. The midfield players were not really looking for it, they were scared to get on the ball, scared to make a mistake, some players were hiding. They need to look for the ball and look to express themselves.
“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.”