Johannesburg - South Africa face a do-or-die clash against Senegal in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations as they look to redeem themselves.
Bafana Bafana came into the tournament full of confidence after putting together a strong qualifying campaign and a 10-match unbeaten streak under coach Shakes Mashaba.
But in their opening game against top-ranked African side Algeria on Monday night they were ultimately made to pay for both a failure to capitalise on their opportunities and some slack defending, with the Fennec Foxes running out 3-1 victors.
Now coming up against a Senegal side which claimed a last-gasp 2-1 win over Ghana, South Africa must claim a positive result to keep their hopes of qualifying for the quarterfinals alive.
Captain Dean Furman has called on Bafana Bafana to be more ruthless in attack and put the defeat behind them with a stronger showing in their next match.
"It is not the kind of start we wanted; we had worked hard for maximum points so the next two games are very crucial for us," said Furman.
"We have to lift our heads and go for a win and that’s all we need. The good thing is that we played some outstanding football out there. We are just very disappointed not to come out with a win.
"We really played very well but did not convert our chances, something we will have to rectify before our next match."
Senegal coach Alain Giresse believes South Africa were “unlucky” to lose against Algeria and has praised the team’s attacking abilities: “It's a great team that has great offensive potential and has a great ability to play in small spaces,” explained the Frenchman at a press conference on Tuesday.
“In the spaces they can make individual raids,” added Giresse, who also noted that Bafana “can develop on the sides [flanks] and end up in the centre of the goal.”
South Africa and Senegal have met in five previous official international matches. Bafana have yet to register a victory against the Teranga Lions, with the West Africans claiming two wins while the other three matches have been drawn.
The teams’ most recent meeting was a goalless draw in a friendly match in Durban in February 2012, while their only previous Afcon clash was a group stage match in Kumasi, Ghana, in 2008 that ended 1-1.
Kick-off is at 21:00.
Do you think Bafana Bafana has what it takes to overcome Senegal?