It was hard to ignore the almost complete lack of presence in Bafana Bafana's midfield during their opening Africa Cup of Nations clash against Cape Verde as long balls were hoofed from the back through to - and too often beyond - what little strike force there was, with the midfield missed out completely.
As such, the centre of midfield was always going to be a key area for the South Africans against Angola on Wednesday, and Dean Furman showed what a difference a strong force in the middle of the park can make.
Playing alongside May Mahlangu for the first time, Furman adopted a more defensive role than his midfield partner, patrolling in front of the back four while Mahlangu took up a more attacking position. It was obvious from the outset that Gordon Igesund's men had the firm structure that they lacked against Cape Verde and were also able to hold the ball up in the midfield and set up play with ease.
It was Furman who was at the fore for the hosts, with his tough tackling and calm head under pressure affording his team-mates both space and time.
What also caught the eye was the manner in which the 24-year-old directed play around him, not overawed by the situation or taking a back seat to more experienced players, he marshalled those ahead of him with confidence.
However, the Oldham Athletic man also showed an eye for goal and forced the Angolan goalkeeper, Lama, into a sharp save in the second half after he unleashed from just outside the box.
With Mahlangu substituted at half-time, Furman shared the centre of midfield with Reneilwe Letsholonyane and the change of personnel did not hinder the efficiency of play. Indeed, it was Letsholonyane's sumptuous ball over the top that put Lehlohonolo Majoro into the space he needed to manufacture South Africa's second goal.
It is easy to get carried away after one brilliant performance, but even more conservative observers will admit that Furman appears to have the quality to drive South Africa forward.
By Julia Harris in Durban
To comment on this story, email us at email@example.com