'The first person to take a drink was the referee‚' says Bafana midfielder Furman

South Africa's midfielder Dean Furman (L) fights for the ball with Ivory Coast's forward Nicolas Pepe during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) football match between Ivory Coast and South Africa at the Al Salam Stadium in Cairo on June 24, 2019.
South Africa's midfielder Dean Furman (L) fights for the ball with Ivory Coast's forward Nicolas Pepe during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) football match between Ivory Coast and South Africa at the Al Salam Stadium in Cairo on June 24, 2019.
Image: JAVIER SORIANO / AFP

Dean Furman "jokingly" chided the Algerian referee in Bafana Bafana's 1-0 Africa Cup of Nations opening defeat against Ivory Coast on Monday for being the first person to have a drink during an injury stoppage when he did not allow a first-half water breaks.

For the second Group D game running the referee did not allow a first-half water break - though Algerian referee Mustapha Ghorbal did at least allow a second-half break - in a 4.30pm kickoff Group D fixture at Cairo's Al Salam Stadium.

The previous day Morocco coach Hervé Renard slammed Rwandan referee Louis Kakizimana for not allowing any breaks in the Atlas Lions' sluggish 1-0 win against Namibia.

Global players' union FifPro have raised concerns about the 4.30pm games kicking off at near 40 degrees Celsius - Sunday's started in 38 degrees C‚ and Monday's in 37.

Furman said Ghorbal did not allow a first-half water break.

"No. I was surprised. Because the first time there was an injury the first person to take a drink was the referee.

"And I had a joke with him because he said‚ 'No water break'‚" the Bafana midfielder‚ arguably the hardest-working player on the field in the temperature on Monday‚ said.

"But it's up to the referee and he decided that.

"I don't know if the temperature was too low for a water break. But you could see from the energy of the players the guys were desperate for a bit of water."

Also noticeable was that Ivory Coast's players seemed to feign injuries for water breaks‚ and when they did they had a ready supply from their bench.

Bafana did not have the same service from theirs.

Furman‚ though‚ played down the effect of the heat on Monday‚ saying conditions were not much worse than Rustenburg in a mid-South Africa summer.

"It's hot. But I would say 75 percent of us play in South Africa where we play a summer league so we play in this kind of weather every week‚" he said.

"It does alter the tempo of the game. But it is what it is. We went to Dubai specifically to get used to this. Dubai was 10 degrees hotter than this.

"It's similar to Rustenburg‚ Polokwane‚ Thoyandou. It's hot. We've got to deal with that.

"What we've experienced‚ because we've been training at 4.30pm‚ 5pm‚ is that by the time of the second half it does cool a lot.

"And that's the end of our 4.30 games now. We've got a 10pm [against Namibia on Friday]‚ and a 6pm game now [against Morocco on Monday].

"So yeah‚ we're disappointed‚ but the conditions will suit us better in the next game‚ if they had any effect today."

Bafana meet Namibia at Al Salam Stadium at 10pm on Friday night.

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