• FT

    South Africa


    Cape Verde


  • FT






FNB Stadium, South Africa

Referee: Djamel Haimoudi | Attendance: 50000

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South Africa v Cape Verde Islands: Preview

Host nation South Africa will kick off the 29th Africa Cup of Nations in Johannesburg tomorrow against opponents primed to cause an upset.

Tournament debutants the Cape Verde have emerged under the radar to make their debut in the 16-team competition.

South Africa coach Gordon Igesund admits he has never seen them play live, although he claims thorough preparation has still been done on a team that could test Bafana Bafana at the National Stadium.

``I have had a lot of professional people looking at them,'' Igesund told www.supersport.com.

``I know about how they play, I know all their players, I have DVDs of each of them. I have information on all their players.

``We have the best information we can get considering we haven't seen them live.''

A 90,000 crowd is expected tomorrow, and Igesund hopes for a flying start when South Africa make their first appearance in the tournament since 2008.

``Playing in front of 90,000 people is motivation enough,'' he added. ``Players are jumping out of their skin to play.

``Hopefully, we get some momentum going and we can get the nation behind us. I think we can do it. I think we are very, very capable.''

Cape Verde, nicknamed the Blue Sharks, qualified through a shock 3-2 aggregate victory over Cameroon, while their coach Lucio Antunes had a week's internship last month with Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho.

``Just being part of the tournament is already a great achievement for us,'' Antunes told www.fifa.com.

``Participating in the opening game, with all the media exposure that this entails, is a privilege - albeit one that requires us to be up to the occasion.''

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