After Saturday night’s 0-0 draw with Algeria, a decent result considering that the Desert Foxes are rated second in Africa and 19th in the world, Igesund was asked if the line-up from that game would be the same one which faces Cape Verde next Saturday.
He confirmed that the team which began the match at the Soweto Stadium was geared towards being the same of that for the tournament opener, though there could be a few changes.
“Out there [against Algeria] was very close to it, very close to it. I’m not talking about starting, but towards the end and in between,” said Igesund.
So just where will those changes be implemented?
Starting in defence, Thabo Matlaba had a very good game at left-back and deserves the opportunity to start the next match in Tsepo Masilela’s place again.
With no natural (in terms of speed and getting to the by-line) left wingers in the squad, the Pirates full-back brings another dimension to that side of the field.
It’s in the middle of the park where the critical issues arise. Dean Furman and Kagisho Dikgacoi, our two anchor men from the lower divisions in England, surely cannot start together.
They’re too similar, neither player offering attacking impetus, despite their solid showings in deeper midfield.
Dikgacoi is meant to be the one making things happen with Furman sitting behind him, but while the Crystal Palace man can certainly tackle, he lacks creativity and his passing is not up to scratch.
Our wingers did well, with Thuso Phala’s old-school pace, power and delivery from the right flank again a positive. On the other side, Siphiwe Tshabalala’s fans would have been upset to see him dropped, but Bernard Parker is a far more accomplished and certainly a more potent finisher.
But Dikgacoi and Furman’s lack of penetration from the middle meant that we lacked options, failed to create enough chances and were unable to attack with pace and the element of surprise that comes with that. There was not enough of a supply line to Katlego Mphela up-front. Give the Sundowns man two or three chances a game and he will likely score.
So when Igesund said: “towards the end and in between” perhaps he meant that he would be starting next weekend with Furman and Reneilwe Letsholonyane?
Furman had another solid showing against Algeria; his positional sense and organisational skills outstanding. It’s hard to remember if he ever lost possession of the ball.
Granted, he does not bring a lot going forward, but every side can afford, or perhaps should have, one player to steady the ship and keep things ticking over.
Opinions are divided on Letsholonyane, but with Oupa Manyisa unfortunately not having been given much game-time to prove himself, the Chiefs man would be our best bet to partner Furman.
Playing Lerato Chabangu there would be exciting, especially if he was to click with Thulani Serero, but perhaps too adventurous.
So, based on what Igesund said, and on the above analysis, perhaps we could be looking at a starting line-up as follows: Khune – Ngcongca, Khumalo, Sangweni, Matlaba – Phala, Furman, Letsholonyane, Parker – Serero – Mphela
HAVE YOUR SAY: How would your starting XI vs Cape Verde look?