2018 World Cup Qualifier: South Africa v Senegal Preview

South-Africa-Senegal-Preview

South Africa's Road to Russia continues with a clash against Senegal at the new Peter Mokaba Stadium.


Bafana Bafana will face a mammoth task against a star-studded Senegal side on Saturday in a 2018 World Cup Qualifier at the new Peter Mokaba Stadium. Senegal, 2002 World Cup quarter-finalists, top Group D with three points after one match, while Bafana are tied with Burkina Faso on one point and Cape Verde are at the bottom of the table with no points.

Bafana and the Lions of Teranga have clashed seven times, with Shakes Mashaba’s side winning once, losing twice and drawing four times. Both sides go into this game knowing that victory is vital with regards to their chances of making it to Russia in 2018.



CAF World Cup qualifier | Saturday 12 November | Peter Mokaba Stadium | 15:00

To Win (90 Mins)
South Africa 31/20| Draw 43/20 | Senegal 7/4

South Africa
South Africa were held to a 1-1 draw by Burkina Faso in their opening Group D qualifier at the Stade du 4 Aout last month. An 80th minute strike from SuperSport United captain Dean Furman looked to have sealed all three points for Shakes Mashaba’s side, but Banou Diawara came off the bench with great effect to earn the Stallions a point in stoppage time. Mashaba would have been disappointed to concede seconds away from the final whistle and he’ll be hoping his side will be more focused against group favourites Senegal. 

Three days after drawing with Burkina Faso, Bafana played a friendly against Ghana at Moses Mabhida Stadium, which ended in another 1-1 stalemate. Wakusu Mubarak put the Black Stars ahead from the penalty spot in the 38th minute but Ayanda Patosi equalized with a wonderful strike seven minutes after the break. The draw, their second in a row, extended their unbeaten run to 13 matches. 

Mashaba has named a strong 25-man squad for this clash. Daine Klate returns to the side following a series of great performances for Bidvest Wits this season, while SuperSport United duo Bradley Grobler and Thuso Phala have also been called up.

Mashaba has also added a new face in Dutch-born striker Lars Veldwijk. Veldwijk, who plays for Belgian side Kortrijk, scored 14 goals in 36 games for PEC Zwolle in the Netherlands last season and is a promising player. He is tall and poses a serious aerial threat. Mashaba must decide whether to gamble with him or stick with Eleazar Rodgers, who despite not scoring has impressed since his call up. 

This is the best Bafana squad we’ve had in recent years with good quality in every position. Mzansi's number one Itumeleng Khune is arguably the best goalkeeper in Africa and he’s got a good backline in front of him. Thulani Hlatshwayo has made the defence stronger and seems to be thriving with the captain’s armband on.

Bafana are gifted in midfield with the likes of Klate, Furman, Andile Jali, Hlompho Kekana and Keagan Dolly. Up front, Rodgers is a good hold-up player who’s strong in the air and has a killer instinct in the box.

Senegal
Senegal are in fine form with six wins on the spin, scoring two goals in each game while conceding just once. Although most of those wins have come against average opposition, the Lions of Teranga have still showed quality and togetherness in each performance.

Aliou Cisse’s side were 2-0 victors in their opening qualifier against Cape Verde Islands and currently occupy top spot in Group D. Goals from Keita Balde and Moussa Sow were enough to defeat the Blue Sharks. Senegal dominated proceedings from the off and were unlucky not to score more goals. 

The Lions of Teranga will be targeting three points against Bafana, which will put them in a good position. However, they’ll be made to fight extremely hard as Mashaba’s side haven’t lost since October 2015. And a month prior to that, Bafana beat them in the Nelson Mandela Challenge at the Orlando Stadium with Pirates midfielder Mpho Makola scoring the game’s only goal. 

Senegal will still be confident of victory as they boast a star-studded squad, including Liverpool star Sadio Mane, along with Everton's Idrissa Gueye, Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly and Cheikhou Kouyate from West Ham United. Mane will be Bafana’s greatest threat as he possesses pace, power, trickery, skill and great technique. His quick feet give him the ability to weave through the defence and go into striking distance.


Verdict: Draw (43/20)
This promises to be an incredibly tight affair and South Africa can’t afford to lose. Mashaba’s side need to step up and take their chances because they might not get too many. While aiming to do so, they’ll need to worry about the threat posed by Mane. I think it will be a low-scoring game with the sides tipped to share the spoils. I hope I’m wrong though as victory over Senegal will put us in a good position.  
Written by Chadley Nagel @Hollywoodbets 

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