The last time the two sides met in an Africa Cup of Nations encounter, the match ended in a stalemate back in 2008 in Ghana – a match where South Africa staged a gutsy comeback to score the equaliser only with two minutes left in the clock.
It was a bitter pill to swallow for Angola – who had taken the lead early in the game through striker Manucho. The goalscorer for South Africa then was Elrio van Heerden – he is not here, but Manucho – just like a handful of survivors from that game, is here for the repeat of yet another clash between the two sides.
Angola have said that they want to win this clash. South Africa have made it clear they need to win it. For one side, three points on Wednesday afternoon is a ‘want’ – for the other side, the three points is a ‘need’.
The hosts know they cannot afford another draw in front of what is expected to be a capacity crowd at Moses Mabhida Stadium. Their lacklustre performance in the opening game against Cape Verde at the National Stadium failed to win hearts for them, but many of their fans are eager to give them a second chance against Angola.
South Africa coach, Gordon Igesund was frank in his assessment of the situation. “We had a meeting with the players and we spoke about these issues. There is no room for us to panic and not to play accordingly to our potential. We need to create more chances. We have made some changes in our starting line-up.
“I’m looking for a better performance. I expect the team to keep the ball much longer – to be more patient in our build-up and play as a group. The players must realise that they are professional footballers who represent their country. This game tomorrow is going to be a different type of a game. We want to play our style of football. I have told the guys that I don’t want to see any long balls. We need to play according to our strengths,” Igesund said.
Speaking about Angola, the South Africa coach said he expects the Antelopes to attack his side from the first minute. He has studied Angola, he argued.
Igesund added: “To me, the Cape Verde game was much more difficult because they closed us down a lot; they simply did not give us space to play. I watch the Angola match against Morocco – both sides playing free flowing football – they attached each other, the game was more open. I expect a similar game against them on Wednesday afternoon.”
Angola coach, Gustavo Ferrin said they are focused on their next task.
“We have an opportunity to advance to the next stages. Before this tournament, we were the least ranked team in our group and we were not given a chance to compete in this group. We showed against a good Morocco side that we can compete.”