Nine days before the start of the Africa Cup of Nations, Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund believes his team does not have the full backing of South African supporters.
Igesund on Thursday pointed out that sections of the crowd at Tuesday's friendly international against Norway in Cape Town jeered striker Katlego Mphela after he missed a number of easy chances in front of goal.
Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund believes his team does not have the full backing of South African supporters. Photo by: Jack Lestrade. Credit: Independent Newspapers
“There is a great vibe out there, but I don't think it's from everybody at the moment,” Igesund said at a luncheon hosted by SuperSport in Johannesburg.
“To get a crowd behind you, they (the crowd) have to be realistic and support. The fans are not supporting Katlego Mphela at the moment.
“Players are human beings. When a player has the support of the crowd, the player wants to get into the opposition area again and again.
“When the crowd start booing and start saying things, the player starts thinking negatively and he no longer gets into the area, he starts hiding.”
Mphela struggled to hit his straps in the first half of the warm-up clash, before Igesund substituted him at half-time. He insisted he was happy with the Mamelodi Sundowns' attacker.
“I thought Katlego didn't do badly, if you analyse his 45 minutes, he had a number of shots,” Igesund explained.
“He got into good areas and before the game he knew that he was only going to be playing 45 minutes.
Although the team was heavily criticised for its lack of penetration when it came to goal-scoring, Igesund was adamant they would be firing on all cylinders once the tournament got underway next weekend.
“We will definitely score goals. We will create situations,” Igesund said.
“We have the two top-scoring players from the Premiership in the team at the moment. We can't keep saying, 'you can't score, you can't get the goals'.”
Turning his attention to Bafana's opening encounter, Igesund stressed the importance of preparation and praised the Cape Verde outfit for their achievements in qualifying for the continental showpiece.
“The gap in international football has really closed,” Igesund said.
“I watched their warm-up game on Wednesday night. They are a very decent side, a very committed side.
“They are very physical. We have to overcome a lot of obstacles, but Cape Verde are certainly not going to be a walk in the park. We can't just go out onto that field. We are going to have a tough game against them.” – Sapa