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Africa Cup of Nations Day 1 Wrap: Missed Opportunity for Host South Africa

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JANUARY 19:  Anele Ngcongca of South Africa and Ramos Heldon of Cape Verde in action during the 2013 African Cup of Nations match between South Africa and Cape Verde Islands at the National Stadium on January 19, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa.  (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
Gallo Images/Getty Images
Karl MatchettFeatured ColumnistJanuary 19, 2013

The 2013 Africa Cup of Nations kicked off on Saturday with two Group A matches played in host county South Africa, but a pair of disappointing goalless draws was the outcome as the competition waits to fire.

GROUP A RESULTS: Angola 0-0 Morocco, South Africa 0-0 Cape Verde Islands

Having enjoyed plenty of high-profile buildup, the AFCON would have preferred a more exciting first day of action.

South Africa were hoping to pick up their first win in the tournament for close to a decade but missed a great chance to do so after an uninspiring 0-0 result against the unfancied Cape Verde Islands.

Head coach of Bafana Bafana, Gordon Igesund, criticised his team for lacking nerve when it came to the big occasion, as reported by the BBC.

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. 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 are not doomed yet. But we need to improve.

South Africa will not find the going any easier as the tournament progresses. The other two strong sides in Group A also shared a point in the day's second match.

Angola and Morocco were in action in the later kickoff, and although the match was more eventful than the tournament opener, there was still a dearth of goalmouth action.

Younes Belhanda of Morocco was only fit enough to manage half an hour off the bench, but even that was almost enough to pop up as the match-winner after his winding run ended in a shot wide of the post.

Angola's biggest threat came from Manucho, but he was similarly off target with a headed attempt late in the game.

Day 2 will see Group B take centre stage, where either Ghana, Congo DR, Mali or Niger will hope to be the first to hit the back of the net in the Africa Cup of Nations. But for Group A, it's still everything to play for after the first round of games.

 

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