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Igesund questions South Africa nerve

South Africa coach Gordon Igesund has questioned his side’s ability to handle the pressure of the Africa Cup of Nations.

After creating precious little in their opening 0-0 draw with Cape Verde – the smallest country in the competition with a population of only half a million – Igesund was far from happy and made few excuses for Bafana Bafana’s underwhelming performance.

“Not too many of my players came to the party in the first half, which was a total waste of time. We weren’t much better in the second,” the 55-year-old told the BBC.

“Too many balls were played over the top at 100 miles per hour, which is something we don’t want to do. Some of the players seemed to freeze when the whistle blew and lost their nerve. Perhaps for some of them the occasion was a bit too big.

“We now have to go for it in our next two games against Angola and Morocco. Of course we wanted to win and get a goal and get all three points, and we are not doomed yet. But we need to improve.”

South Africa have now not won a match in the Africa Cup of Nations since 2004, having failed to register a victory in 2006 and 2008 and they did not qualify in 2010 and 2012.

However, Igesund also paid tribute to their opponents who are 70th in FIFA’s rankings, 15 places higher than his side.

“Credit to Cape Verde,” he said.

“They are a good, well-organised team and play like Europeans. They defended well, slowed the game right down in the second half and got the point they came looking for.”

Sun 20 January, 2013
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