South Africa vs Namibia
Al Salaam Stadium, Cairo
Friday, 28-06-2019 @11pm
1996 Africa Cup of Nations winners South Africa will be out to register their first win at the 2019 edition when they take on Namibia at the Al Salaam Stadium on Friday night.
The Bafana Bafana lost their first game 0-1 to Ivory Coast on Sunday in a game that they were clearly second best to the Elephants.
Stuart Baxter’s charges played only one build-up game ahead of the tournament and physically, they failed to compete last Sunday.
Even with qualification still within their reach as there is a provision for a third team in the group qualifying for the round of 16, South Africa will very much want to win on Friday and head into the last game needing to just avoid defeat against Morocco.
Against Ivory Coast, South Africa enjoyed very little amount of the ball with not a single shot on target, while some of the decision-making was just appalling.
Percy Tau and Lebo Mothiba had very little action up front, while the roaming playmakers in Themba Zwane and Lebohang Maboe have got to do more in terms of collecting the ball from the two destroyers, Kamohelo Mokotjo and Dean Furman.
Defensively, we were in a shambles. Sifiso Hlanti, Buhle Mkhwanazi and Thulani Hlatshwayo all play together at Bidvest Wits, so their schoolboy errors cannot be allowed in two consecutive games. They need to learn from their own wrongs and make amends against Namibia, where they will come up against their club teammate, Deon Hotto.
If Bafana Bafana are on song, they could certainly cruise past their African neighbours and take their first step in reaching the next round.
For Namibia, they once again head into another AFCON fixture being massive underdogs.
The Brave Warriors are however playing without any pressure at all and that seemed to benefit them in their opening game against Morocco, where they suffered a 1-0 defeat, courtesy of a cruel late own goal scored by substitute, Itamunua Keimuine.
Namibia had all the answers to the questions that Morocco posed and had it not been for their own costly error, Ricardo Mannetti’s men would have earned a miraculous point. Perhaps the Brave Warriors deserved more on the day despite creating very little chances.
Now, against arguably weaker opposition in South Africa, along with the fact that Wits winger, Hotto, as well as the Highlands Park duo of Denzil Haoseb and Peter Shalulile, Loydt Kazapua of Maccabi FC, Riaan Hanamub of Jomo Cosmos and Larry Horaeb of Baroka FC will be hoping to prove a point and make their nation proud against the country they all ply their trade in.
The two countries first met in 1998 and since South Africa are undefeated in the six matches with Namibia, recording five victories and a single draw in the process.
The first and the last encounters finished in 4-1 results.
Namibia’s head coach Ricardo Mannetti played for his country when they were humiliated 4-1 by South Africa at the 1998 Cup of Nations in Burkina Faso.
“The best way to banish those memories would be to beat Bafana Bafana (The Boys). We have never won a Cup of Nations match and that is our priority,” he said.
“My players were heartbroken after holding Morocco for 89 minutes and then losing to an own-goal.”
Both sides come into the encounter without any injury worries.
Morocco and Ivory Coast who both have no points, square off later in the night in the other Group D game.
The other games on Tuesday
-Tunisia vs Mali @5:30pm
-Morocco vs Ivory Coast @8pm
-Madagascar 1-0 Burundi
-Senegal 0-1 Algeria
-Kenya 3-2 Tanzania