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Sun Apr 20 15:38:43 SAST 2014

Majoro injury may not be so bad after all

MARC STRYDOM in Durban | 25 January, 2013 06:140 Comments
South Africa's Lehlohonolo Majoro (7) attempts to score past Angola's goalkeeper Lama during their Afcon match. Angola defender Bastos (13) looks on
Image by: REUTERS

BAFANA Bafana's euphoria from their convincing first win of the Africa Cup of Nations against Angola at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Wednesday, has been tempered by the news that striker Lehlohonolo Majoro could miss the next match.

Majoro, who came off the bench to score South Africa's 62nd-minute second goal, has had seven stitches in his shin for an injury sustained in the dying minutes.

The Kaizer Chiefs striker told Cafonline yesterday: "I'm definitely out for our last group game against Morocco. The injury isn't looking good for now but the doctors have assured me that it can be fixed soon. So, it's not a long-term injury."

However, yesterday coach Gordon Igesund said the injury might not be as severe as first thought. Igesund said Majoro might even play against Morocco, who Bafana face at Moses Mabhida Stadium in their final Group A game on Sunday.

The news comes as a blow, but after an inspired team performance Bafana are finally on a cautious high at Afcon 2013. Captain Bongani Khumalo believes the victory could have been the kick-start the hosts needed to set their momentum rolling.

He did caution, though, that the South Africans, leaders of Group A with four points, need to keep their feet on the ground and focus on their game against Morocco on Sunday, also at Moses Mabhida.

"Positivity is always needed in a tournament like this. And one way of getting it is putting in a performance like today," Khumalo said after his side's victory. "It creates a good buzz and then those who have backed us will back us even more."

Coach Gordon Igesund said during the week Bafana needed to get goals behind them, and a win, and the rest will fall into place.

"Obviously, when we scored our first goal I was very, very happy because I think we were always going to be a difficult team to beat, and the defenders have performed outstandingly.

"We hope we get the momentum going and this will help a lot. But we don't want to get too excited or carried away - it's only one win."

Igesund opted for an attacking line-up that included forwards Katlego Mphela, Tokelo Rantie, Bernard Parker and Thuso Phala in front of playmaker May Mahlangu. Bafana opened the scoring through Siyabonga Sangweni in the 21st minute.

Igesund said the gamble he took fielding an attacking XI was because of Bafana's must-win situation, and he is unlikely to take the same approach against Morocco.

"A lot of people might have thought: 'Five changes, the coach is panicking'. But that was the risk I took. It's nothing to do with panicking - we were out to win this game today. Against Morocco it might need to be another three changes because they play a totally different style of football to Angola."

Bafana's confidence in attack would not have been as effective had it not been for the tireless display of Dean Furman as the lone defensive midfielder.

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