Bafana Bafana

Tall ask, but can Bafana pull it off?

2017-09-05 07:30
Tokelo Rantie (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - South Africa face a bumpy road in qualifying for the 2018 Soccer World Cup after their defeat against Cape Verde on Friday evening.

The 2-1 loss at the Estadio Nacional in Praia - where the match was played on artificial turf - couldn't have been more damaging to their qualification chances.

Bafana's only saving grace was that Burkina Faso held African giants Senegal to a goalless draw in Dakar on Saturday which has completely opened up Group D.

Minnows Cape Verde are no longer point-less at the bottom of the group after picking up three crucial points in their own qualification quest.

Burkina Faso remain in top spot with five points, while goal difference sees Senegal in second place with four points while Stuart Baxter's Bafana charges are in third position.

All four countries have one match against each other remaining to see who eventually tops the group - and heads for the global spectacle in Russia next year.

Bafana may well need to win all three of their remaining matches if they wish to be one of only five CAF representatives in the draw on Friday, December 1, 2017.

The South Africans welcome Cape Verde to Durban's Moses Mabhida Stadium on Tuesday evening (kick-off is at 19:00) in what Baxter believes will be a very open game.

Senegal and Burkina Faso kick off an hour later the same night in a match in which Baxter will be hoping ends in a stalemate after 90 minutes.

On Saturday, October 7 Burkina Faso will travel to Johannesburg for a match at FNB Stadium in which South Africa Football Association (SAFA) president Danny Jordaan believes a 90 000 crowd would go a long way in helping Bafana Bafana qualify for Russia.

A month later South Africa head to Senegal for a "return" grudge encounter after Bafana Bafana's controversial 2-1 victory at the Peter Mokaba Stadium.

Since then, FIFA has banned Ghanaian referee Joseph Lamptey for life after he influenced the result in that match.

However, victories in each of their remaining matches will be easier said than done. When it comes to history, the South African public know all too well not to count on that happening.

Bafana's destiny lies in their own hands.

Can they pull it off?

Tashreeq Vardien works at Sport24 and is a paper basketball dustbin champion...

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