4 September 2017 – Bafana Bafana play Cape Verde in a do-or-die match at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Tuesday, 5 September 2017 in which a win will bring Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup campaign back on track.
South Africa’s chances of being among five African countries to represent the continent at football’s biggest showpiece were somehow spoilt following a surprise 2-1 defeat to Cape Verde in Praia on Friday.
But with other Group D contenders Burkina Faso and Senegal drawing 0-0 in Ouagadougou, Bafana Bafana were again given a massive lifeline which all and sundry agree should be embraced with both hands.
“Somehow, we all felt deflated by that result (2-1 defeat to Cape Verde) but the following day we were thrown a huge lifeline with Burkina Faso and Senegal playing to a goalless draw.
“Now, we are aware of what is expected of us on Tuesday. In football, there are strange twists and turns but you don’t want to leave it to fate. As things stand, the destiny remains in our hands,” said coach Stuart Baxter reflecting on the loss and looking forward to Tuesday’s match.
The coach says Cape Verde will be buoyed by the 2-1 win at home and will most likely be adventurous which will play to his strategy of going on the offensive.
“Friday’s game was one of those games where we never got going. Nothing seemed to work on the day apart from the first 20 minute in which we took a deserved lead. After that, we made what I thought were elementary mistakes but we have spoken about it as a team,” he said.
A win for Bafana Bafana will take their points tally to 7 and will take leadership of the group provided Senegal and Burkina Faso play to another draw.
That will leave South Africa needing to beat Burkina Faso at home and hope Cape Verde shock Senegal in Praia to seal qualification to Russia.
“Everything is possible in football,” said captain Thulani Hlatshwayo. “We have ourselves to blame for what happened in Praia; we made life difficult for ourselves by making avoidable human errors but that is football. Had we won that match, we could have taken total grip of the Group.”
Hlatshwayo said it was now imperative to concentrate on the next three games and give Bafana Bafana fans a good gift by qualifying for Russia 2018.
“It has been long since we last qualified for the FIFA World Cup and if we do so, it will give a nation a massive lift,” he said.
Tickets for the match are on sale at Computicket and Shoprite Checkers Stores throughout the country for R60