South African nationwide mens soccer workforce. (Photograph by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Photographs)
It is first versus second in a Group C top-of-the-table conflict as Bafana Bafana host Ghana in a 2021 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier at FNB Stadium on Thursday.
There’s nonetheless a lot to play for with the winner of Thursday’s encounter elevated to the highest of the group standings whereas in Bafana’s case shifting to the cusp of reserving a spot at subsequent yr’s match in Cameroon.
Each groups are presently tied on 9 factors with a solitary purpose separating the 2 sides with the Black Stars holding a slender benefit on purpose distinction (+4 targets to +3 targets).
The chips nevertheless, appear to be stacked in Bafana Bafana’s favour as Ghana have been experiencing a tumultuous few weeks behind the scenes whereas additionally leaving all their star names at house for the journey to South Africa.
Head coach Charles Akonnor has been beneath sever strain together with his squad choice coming beneath intense scrutiny within the build-up to the conflict in Johannesburg.
However with a checkered historical past of under-performing in high-pressure conditions, Bafana Bafana will nonetheless have to seize their probability in cashing in on the beneficial hand they have been dealt.
Molefi Ntseki’s facet will nearly have secured their passage to Cameroon with a win over their weakened opponents. Bafana will likely be handicapped by the influential absences of Bongani Zungu alongside Dean Furman, Keagan Dolly and Thulani Serero. Ntseki has been compelled into making late adjustments to his preliminary 26-man squad with the extra accidents of in-form strikers Bradley Grobler and Kermit Erasmus.
An enormous enhance although, is the supply of talisman Percy Tau, regardless of having to endure a 10-day quarantine interval on his return to the UK with Premier League facet Brighton.
The one optimistic to those absences is that Ghana have it even worse off with as much as 10 of their worldwide stars – such because the Ayew brothers – not being named within the travelling squad.
By skipping the journey to South Africa, these core group of gamers will return for Ghana’s closing conflict at house in opposition to Sao Tome and with out having to endure the required quarantine interval.
What the coaches stated (Bafana Bafana)
“We must always have a look at it as two crucial matches for us. Each sport is as essential because the final one. The workforce although has achieved very nicely as a result of we’re speaking about 9 factors now, the identical that Ghana has, however they’re forward due to successful the final sport in opposition to us. “It’s a vital confrontation that we now have to face Ghana and enjoying Sudan away, we’ve been by means of the challenges we’ll face after we go there. We’re prepared and targeted by way of attaining our goals.”
What the coaches stated (Ghana)
We have ready adequately figuring out that the match forward of us is a tricky one however we’re hopeful of an excellent efficiency. We had been conscious from the start that we might be with out our core gamers so we have been making ready with out them. We have achieved nicely to date with out them to date, so we now have no worries competing with out these gamers.
Participant to look out for (Bafana Bafana)
Bafana Bafana’s talisman, who has been given restricted enjoying time with Brighton in current weeks will likely be eager to seek out wome type whereas on worldwide responsibility. Tau lately moved into the highest ten highest goalscorers for the boys’s nationwide workforce and is in joint-eighth place with 12 targets in 28 appearances. The 26-year previous will likely be eager to fireside Bafana to clinch qualification whereas boosting his scoring numbers in opposition to the Black Stars and Sudan.
Participant to look out for (Ghana)
South African followers will likely be aware of Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Richard Ofori who will play a significant position between the sticks if chosen. With as much as 10 star gamers lacking younger striker Emmanuel Boateng may show essential for the guests. Nonetheless solely 24-years-old. Boateng was on the books with Spanish facet Levante earlier than shifting to China.