Africa Cup of Nations 2013: Lessons as South Africa get the party started

Africa Cup of Nations 2013: What lessons did we learn as South Africa beat Angola and Morocco deny and Cape Verde a win?

Igesund changes give Bafana Bafana greater threat

South Africa coach Gordon Igesund made five changes to his starting line-up for Bafana Bafana’s second Group A match against Angola. Star striker Katlego Mphela sat on the bench against Cape Verde, alongside Oldham Athletic’s Dean Furman and Tokelo Rantie. But the trio’s introduction, along with Tsepho Masilela and May Mahlangu, gave the hosts much more of a cutting edge than was on display in the opening stalemate with Cape Verde. Rantie looked lively all game, before he was withdrawn for Lehlohonolo Majoro, and his link up play with Mphela gave the Palancas Negras plenty to think about in the first half. And gone were the long balls of Saturday, with Furman’s presence in midfield bringing energy and a slickness to South Africa’s passing. Majoro may have scored the second from a long pass but it was a rare sight, and the substitute’s strength and composure saw him finish well to kill Angola’s hopes.

Manucho needs more help if Angola want to progress

Former Manchester United striker Manucho needs greater support in attack if Angola harbour any hopes of progressing in the Africa Cup of Nations. Having failed to score in their opening two games, the Palancas Negras look to require a win against Cape Verde in their final Group A game in order to qualify. It can’t all be left to Manucho though if Angola are going to break their Afcon 2013 duck, with Guilherme and Mateus needing to show greater composure. Guilherme had what was probably Angolan’s best chance of the game, but his first time strike was saved by Itumeleng Khune when the forward had more time. Mateus was most prominent in the support play for 29-year-old Manucho but his wild swipe at a volley after the target man’s knockdown illustrated just why the forward has scored just seven goals in 41 appearances.

Cape Verde matching Morocco should come as no surprise

Morocco were once labelled as the ‘Brazil of Africa’, but Wednesday’s draw with Africa Cup of Nations first-timers Cape Verde should put that tag to bed. The 1976 champions and 2004 runners up actually started this tournament behind Cape Verde in the January Fifa rankings, and on tonight’s evidence the islanders won’t be looking over their shoulders. Morocco took far too long to get going, with a solitary shot from Abderrahim Achchakir all to show for their first half efforts, in which Cape Verde were on top. The Blue Sharks took advantage of Morocco’s inability to retain the ball for large periods of the game, as Luis Platini and Lille’s Ryan Mendes continued to threaten. One wonders whether Morocco could do with some more creativity and goals in the side, as Marouane Chamakh and Adel Taarabt watch on from England. Morocco dominated periods of the second half, though not until Montpellier playmaker Younnes Belhanda and Liverpool’s Oussama Assaidi were taken off. But Cape Verde matched Morocco, and face a better chance of progression against Angola than the Atlas Lions do against hosts South Africa.

Thomas Partey
Gilberto Silva: What I really think about Thomas Partey at Arsenal
Rio Ferdinand
Rio Ferdinand praises Chelsea FC star who has turned into ‘an animal’
Gary Lineker
Gary Lineker makes honest admission about Arsenal during 3-1 win over Tottenham
Mason Mount
Thomas Tuchel provides injury update on Chelsea FC star Mason Mount ahead of Juventus trip
Ian Wright
Ian Wright admits his delight over Martin Odegaard's performances for Arsenal
Thomas Partey
Gilberto Silva: What I really think about Thomas Partey at Arsenal
Rio Ferdinand
Rio Ferdinand praises Chelsea FC star who has turned into ‘an animal’
Gary Lineker
Gary Lineker makes honest admission about Arsenal during 3-1 win over Tottenham
Mason Mount
Thomas Tuchel provides injury update on Chelsea FC star Mason Mount ahead of Juventus trip
Ian Wright
Ian Wright admits his delight over Martin Odegaard's performances for Arsenal
Top 50 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Man United stars feature
Top 50 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Man United stars feature