Cape Town - Bafana Bafana play Senegal in a 2018 Soccer World Cup Qualifier at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Friday
South Africa need this win more than Senegal do, so how will this
battle play out?
We are on camp and we are going to play two very‚ very important games and you
are highlighting for me that there are people who have already written us
off‚" those are the words of Bafana coach Stuart Baxter, who
strangely thinks the sane people of South Africa are irrational for believing
his team might not make it to next year's World Cup.
I wonder why people would think this way.
it be because Senegal are ranked third in Africa whilst South Africa are 16th,
or maybe Senegal have players who are among Africa's most talented, or
it might be because his Bafana Bafana team lost twice in a row to the worst
side in their World Cup qualifying group (sorry my Cape Verdean people, but
Africa are the underdogs, but football is an odd game, where results are
probable, but, like the weather in Cape Town, are also unpredictable. Who will the
football gods favour on Friday?
was shocked when SAFA announced they were
bringing Stuart Baxter back as coach of Bafana Bafana because he
had failed in his first spell. It was sort of like deciding to start a new
relationship with your ex who neglected, cheated, and constantly left the toilet
seat up the first go round.
in his first match back in charge, he led South Africa to an impressive win
against Nigeria in an AFCON qualifier. Go, Baxter go.
the honeymoon period of the new relationship didn't last long because
Bafana lost two crucial World Cup qualifying games, back-to-back, against
a country better known for its holiday beach resorts than for its
football (sorry my Cape Verdean
people but, again, this is true).
win against Burkina Faso last month has restored some hope, but
Bafana Bafana have to beat Senegal, twice, home and away in the space of
five days to qualify.
Baxter may be without goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune after a facial injury sustained over
the weekend, Hlompho Kekana who had to be excused from the squad after a family
tragedy, Bongani Zungu due to a red card against Burkina Faso and Thulani
Serero who told the selectors to shove their call-up where the sun don't shine.
was a good year for Senegal. The team won six out of seven competitive and
friendly games. Impressive. The only blot on their record book being their
loss against Bafana Bafana in Polokwane. Thankfully for Senegal, it was
announced that the match was to be replayed because the referee was found to be shady. And yes, it seems CAF might have
an agenda against South Africa.
Mane - Senegal's best-attacking player - is fit and will be ready to
torment the South African defenders on Friday.
form in last 10 games
away in last 10 away game
Africa form in last 10 games
Africa form in last 10 home games
So who wins? Betting odds.
Senegal are favourites, but by a small margin. BET.co.za currently has South Africa at 1.80, Senegal at 1.55, and the
draw at 1.90.
have not won many games lately, but they have not been conceding goals
either and South Africa aren't prolific goalscorers. This is likely going
to be a low scoring game.
have much more to lose than South Africa, who are high on confidence after
bashing Burkina Faso, so going all-out attack mode wouldn't be in their best
Bafana have to chase the result and that could lead to spaces in behind to be
exploited by Senegal's pace on the counter-attack. Altitude could also play a
role, Polokwane is 315m above sea level, but Senegal will be mindful of
the fact that a draw will knock South Africa out of the race and that's why
this ultimately will be a DRAW.
Kick-off on Friday is at 19:00.