Cape Town - Sport24 takes a crack at predicting the Bafana Bafana starting XI to face Senegal while also selecting their very own preferred line-up.
South Africa take on the Lions of Teranga on Saturday in a 2018 Soccer World Cup qualifier at the Peter Mokaba Stadium (kick-off is at 15:00).
Coach Shakes Mashaba rarely makes changes to his preferred starting line-ups when it comes to matches unless injuries come into play and he is forced to juggle around his XI.
Have a look at the predicted Bafana Bafana starting XI compared to the line-up Sport24 has chosen for the upcoming fixture.
BAFANA BAFANA PREDICTED LINE-UP:
Itumeleng Khune, Ramahlwe Mphahlele, Thulani Hlatshwayo, Eric Mathoho, Thabo Matlaba, Andile Jali, Hlompho Kekana, Mpho Makola, Thulani Serero, Keagan Dolly, Lars Veldwijk
Khune has solidified his stature as Bafana’s first-choice goalkeeper and has been in impressive form for Kaizer Chiefs this season and will be a definite starter against Senegal.
The Sundowns right-back has been impressive for Masandawa this season and has found a rich vein of form, with the added distinction of being a CAF Champions League winner.
Eric Mathoho and Thulani Hlatshwayo
There will be no changes to the centre-back partnership that faced Burkina Faso in the last competitive fixture with both Kaizer Chiefs and Bidvest Wits defenders being in fine form.
Bafana’s obvious weakness is at left-back where there is a serious lack of quality options. The Orlando Pirates defender is expected to hold onto his place due to the number of injuries to other left-back options.
Jali has been impressive for Bafana Bafana in the past 18 months, striking up an impressive partnership with Dean Furman. Jali tends to raise his game against better opposition and will likely slot straight into the team to replace the injured Furman.
Kekana is expected to partner Jali in midfield with the Sundowns skipper being often hailed by Pitso Mosimane as the best midfielder in the country. Kekana was also instrumental in Sundowns being crowned the best club team in Africa.
Dolly remains the most exciting youngster in SA soccer even though he has had a recent dip in form. His ability to beat opponents and put in quality crosses should see him retain his place in the team.
Serero is simply the best player that we have at the moment and should be one of the first names on Shakes Mashaba’s team sheet. However, the former Ajax Cape Town player needs to sort out his club situation at Ajax Amsterdam for the benefit of Bafana Bafana.
Should count himself lucky to hold onto his place if he is selected ahead of players plying their trade at a higher level (Patosi). Is lethal from long-range, but has been a part of a transitioning Pirates team.
Due to the lack of goals and quality strikers available to Mashaba, Lars Veldwijk will most likely be thrown into the deep end with the hopes of securing a vital victory against the Lions of Teranga.
HOW SPORT24 WOULD LIKE TO SEE BAFANA LINE-UP:
Itumeleng Khune, Ramahlwe Mphahlele, Thulani Hlatshwayo, Clayton Daniels, Thabo Matlaba, Andile Jali, May Mahlangu, Ayanda Patosi, Thulani Serero, Daine Klate, Lars Veldwijk
Daniels has shown his quality as one of the best defenders in SA with his marshalling of an impressive SuperSport United defence who shut out Sundowns while down to 10-men. Daniels has excellent communication skills and is comfortable on the ball.
Mahlangu should be given his chance with the absence through injury of Dean Furman. Mahlangu who plays at a higher level than some of his midfield counterparts in the Bafana team should be feeling frustrated at not being given more opportunities.
Patosi should, much like Mahlangu, feel frustrated at not being a regular starter for Bafana Bafana as he plays at a higher level than Makola. Patosi is an intelligent player who would provide quality on the right side of the pitch and would form an exciting partnership with Serero and Veldwijk.
Klate has been one of the form players of the PSL this season and has been banging in goals for fun. Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt has hailed Klate as the best left-sided player in the league with the attacker’s dangerous crosses an invaluable weapon in combination with the lanky Veldwijk.