Igesund keeps chin up as Afcon looms

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iol sport pic jan9 Gordon Igesund Gallo A grim-faced Gordon Igesund watches from the touchline during the international friendly btween South Africa and Norway at Cape Town Stadium.

Cape Town - With the Africa Cup of Nations just 10 days away, South Africa's 1-0 defeat to Norway has failed to dampen the spirits of Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund.

Igesund saw his side dominate the match in front of a sold-out Cape Town Stadium on Tuesday night, but they failed to cash in on several golden scoring opportunities.

Between some glaring misses by Thuso Phala and Katlego Mphela up front, there was some gritty defending from South Africa, and a bit of luck on the part of the Norwegian defence.

“What's important is that we are creating these opportunities and we are getting into good areas, so I'm not too worried about the lack of penetration in attack,” Igesund said.

“I don't think we have created so many chances in a game in a long, long time.

“The players know they played well, that they had this team on the back foot, and Norway only created a couple of half-chances.

“We wanted to try and win it, and we were very unlucky. I think we must have had about 70 percent possession.

“Defensively we kept them at bay. They had some very tall strikers which we dealt with quite easily, and we turned defence into attack very well.”

Igesund remained confident that he would be able to iron out any weaknesses before Bafana open the Afcon tournament against Cape Verde on January 19.

He did admit, however, there were areas in which his side needed to make major improvements if they are to stamp their mark on the continental competition, which they last won back in 1996.

“We can't afford to make little errors, but I'm happy these errors are happening now rather than later,” Igesund said.

South Africa were more forceful on attack in the second period, and the coach believed they were the better team all round.

“In the second half we created a lot more chances than we did in the first half. In the first half we were maybe too patient,” he said.

“The players will realise that this was a great opportunity and that we need to work on the training field on making the right runs to make things easier.

“It was not about a lack of composure. We often got the ball wide and a cross in the box, but the keeper got down to make the save.

“We had a lot of chances, but the keeper played very well. Overall we were the better team.”

South Africa will face Algeria in Soweto on Saturday in their final Afcon warm-up match. - Sapa

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