MUCH has been made of the fact that Bafana Bafana's starting XI for their opening Afcon game against Cape Verde not only suffered an attack of the nerves, but also failed to create anything. With today's match against Angola a must-win affair, Sibusiso Mjikeliso suggests a team that might get the job done this time.
Goalkeeper: Itumeleng Khune – If he's fit, he starts. He's one of Africa's most solid glovemen and his distribution is world class.
Leftback: Tshepo Masilela – In the desperate search for goals, defence is often neglected. Masilela will give the coach assurance that slick Angolan striker Manucho, who sometimes drifts out wide, won't go untracked.
Central Defender: Bongani Khumalo – He has been very shaky, but the captain can't be dropped at this crucial stage. He does have class and pedigree; he just needs to fulfil it.
Central Defender: Siyabonga Sangweni – Can often be a surprise source of goals from free kicks and corners, and has been the steadier of the two centre-backs.
Rightback: Anele Ngcongca – To keep fleet-footed Angolan winger Geraldo quiet you need an equally pacy rightback who will stick to him like hot chewing gum.
Defensive midfielder: Dean Furman – The former Chelsea Youth player has seldom had a bad day in a Bafana shirt. His ability to break down opposition play and off-load quickly will be crucial in unsettling the Angola midfield.
Attacking midfielder: Oupa Manyisa – He loves Durban. He won the league treble decider there with Orlando Pirates and had a stormer for Bafana against Malawi. His choice would be adventurous, but could reap rewards.
Defensive midfielder: Reneilwe Letsholonyane – Bafana cannot do without his penetrative passes. He's not shy to do the dirty midfield business either.
Left wing: Siphiwe Tshabalala – After a less than commanding performance in the opener against Cape Verde, the only reason "Shabba" is in the team is because Lerato Chabangu is injured. Here's hoping he uses his reprieve.
Right wing: Thuso Phala – If he can find Katlego Mphela with his runs down the byline, SA could be back in the goal-scoring business.
Forward: Katlego Mphela – He lifts the spirit of the team because the players know he is one of Bafana's best all-time finishers.