As part of SFG’s Afcon 2013 post-mortem, the SFG writers take the first cursory glance at the fortunes of each team at Afcon 2013, deconstructing the performance of each team in the format of Sergio Leones’ seminal work The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. We start with Group A:
Well, it could have been worse. They did at least get out of the group this time, and on top. That is progress for a side some suggested would underachieve on the big stage again. And they ended the tournament unbeaten in normal time after being eliminated on penalties. In terms of players, Thuso Phala looked good on the right, and Dean Furman made an impact when introduced to central midfield in the second game after a nervy opener. Defensively they also looked good with Khumalo and Sangweni making a solid partnership in front of the ever-impressive Khune.
It seemed as if South Africa went into the tournament with Gordon Igesund yet to decide on a first XI and I think it really hindered them. The line-up against Cape Verde had a few surprises, with Mphela, Serero and Furman all on the bench. In fact, the Ajax youngster Serero, marked out as the potential successor to Pienaar, didn’t start a single game for the Bafana Bafana. By the time they went out, 4 different strikers had started, one of whom (Parker) ending up replacing the disappointing Tshabalala on the left flank, and by the final game Igesund had switched from 4-4-2 to a 4-2-3-1 with Rantie up front on his own. Similarly, various combinations of centre midfielders were used to different levels of effect.