S'Busiso Mseleku

Which Bafana side will show up?

2017-10-13 08:53
Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)

Following the splendid display in a 3-1 2018 World Cup Qualifier win against Burkina Faso, many are convinced that Bafana Bafana can beat Senegal in back-to-back matches next month.

And yes, I use the words splendid and display in the same sentence with Bafana Bafana consciously.

I am one of those who think this mission of qualifying for next year’s World Cup finals in Russia is possible.

However, this will depend on which Bafana side turns up for the two matches next month.

In a nutshell, Bafana Bafana need to beat Senegal at home and away to reach 10 points and finish on top of Group D with Senegal on nine which they already have.

The other two nations in the Group - Burkina Faso and Cape Verde - are on six points each, meaning whoever wins their ultimate encounter, will finish on nine points. A draw would see Burkina Faso and Cape Verde finish on seven points apiece.

The flipside of the coin to Bafana needing a maximum six points from their two matches against Senegal though is that the West African country needs just a single point from the two matches to make it to Russia as they have a better goal difference than Burkina Faso and Cape Verde.

Back to my question of which Bafana Bafana side will turn up for the two matches against Senegal?

Over the years, Bafana Bafana have mastered the art of inconsistency. In one match - or two in the case of their encounters against Cape Verde - they are diabolic and brilliant in the next game as they displayed against Burkina Faso.

Their showing against The Stallions of Burkina Faso got some soccer followers asking why they did not put up such a display against the Islanders.

Had they done that, we would be telling a story that they are now on 10 points after an away draw against Burkina Faso, two wins against Cape Verde and then the latest victory.

However, typical of Bafana Bafana, the story is very different and we once again have to go through the different permutations to fathom what can still happen.

Discussing the current scenario with a colleague, he opined that he would not be surprised if Bafana win their home match against Senegal, raise the nation’s hopes and then go on to lose away. Such is the inconsistency that the team has displayed over the year.

A number of players such as Itumeleng Khune, Andile Jali and Morgan Gould to mention just three, played their hearts out in the game against Burkina Faso in front of rows and rows of empty seats at the vast FNB Stadium.

I can assure you that had they put up such a gallant fight against Cape Verde, the national stadium would have been filled to the rafters. But that’s Bafana for you.

So all we have to do now is pray that the right Bafana Bafana team turns up for the penultimate and ultimate qualifiers against Senegal.

S'Busiso Mseleku is regarded as one of Africa's leading sports journalists and an authority on football. He has received some of the biggest awards in a career spanning over 30 years. He is currently City Press Sports Editor.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

Read more on:    bafana bafana  |  s'busiso mseleku  |  soccer
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