The 2021 AFCON qualifiers continue for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic with plenty of action taking place throughout the week. Bafana Bafana headline the act against Sao Tome in Durban’s iconic Moses Mabhida Stadium. Will Molefi Ntseki be able to inspire South Africa to victory? We take a look at Bafana Bafana’s tie on Friday night as well as a few other key matchups.
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Friday 13 November
Sierra Leone 17/1
Nigeria have been one of few teams in Africa to flex their muscles and be involved in some high-scoring affairs, scoring six goals in their opening two matches, while they’ve also conceded three times. As expected with those numbers, Nigeria top Group L with six points to their name. Sierra Leone are winless from their opening two matchups, drawing at home to Lesotho before going down 1-0 at Benin. Nigeria are a banker here.
South Africa 1/12
Sao Tome 25/1
Bafana Bafana’s road to the African Cup of Nations continues when they host Sao Tome at Moses Mabhida this Friday. Head coach, Molefi Ntseki, has opted to go the tried and tested route and call upon some of the nation’s hottest talents, most notably the players plying their trade abroad, particularly Percy Tau, Keagan Dolly and Bongani Zungu. Sao Tome have lost both of their opening two matches in the group stages, failing to score against Ghana and Sudan. Bafana Bafana are infamous for not putting nations like this to bed, but this time around, they really should claim three points.
Central African Republic 13/1
Morocco will be looking to solidify their top spot in Group E after claiming four points from their opening two matches. They’re yet to concede in their opening two ties and will be hoping to continue their impressive defensive record with Sevilla shot-stopper, Yassine Bounou, looking to keep yet another clean sheet for his national team. In attack, Hakim Ziyech and Achraf Hakimi have been in superb form at club level. Central African Republic won their first match in the group stages, beating Burundi 2-0. They did, however, follow that up with 2-0 loss at Mauritania. Back the hosts here and include in all multiples.
One of the more exciting ties on Friday night sees Mali entertain Namibia with both nations setting their sights on top spot in Group A. Mali currently sit in second spot, one point above Namibia after the hosts drew 2-2 with Guinea and then won 2-0 in Chad. Namibia haven’t done too badly, beating Chad 2-1, although they did lose 2-0 in Guinea. With the likes of Deon Hotto and Peter Shalulile, I fancy the visitors to hold Mali to a draw.
Tunisia, who are currently ranked second in Africa, have the chance to amass nine points from their opening three matches when they host Tanzania. The Eagles of Carthage could go six points clear of their opponents after hammering Libya 4-1, before grinding out a 1-0 win at Equatorial Guinea. Libya, who were battered by Tunisia, beat Tanzania, which should give Tunisia a bit of hope of dealing with the East African side. My money is on the home nation.
Saturday 14 November
Egypt have had a disastrous start to their group stage campaign, failing to beat Kenya and Comoros in their opening two encounters. By their standards, those two matches should have been goal difference ties. Now, the Egyptians come into this game against Togo with very little confidence, although, the visitors have already tasted defeat, losing their home tie against Comoros. Despite their early struggles in the group stages, you get the feeling that Egypt will slowly start to turn their fortunes around. With the likes of Mohamed Elneny, Mahmoud Trezeguet and Mohamed Salah, the Pharaohs should claim maximum points.
Sunday 15 November
Senegal have lived up to their title as the number one ranked nation in Africa, claiming six points from their opening two matches, scoring six times, shipping in just one goal. The Lions of Teranga have beaten Congo 2-0 and won 4-1 in eSwatini. Guinea-Bissau sit third in Group I with three points, beating eSwatini 3-0. They did, however, lose by the same scoreline to Congo. As straightforward as this may seem on paper, I fancy Guinea-Bissau to hold Senegal to a draw.
Equatorial Guinea TBA
With Tunisia playing against Tanzania in the other Group J qualifier, Libya will be hoping to use this tie to their advantage and add to their three points already to their name. Libya beat Tanzania last time out, while Equatorial Guinea have lost both of their group matches, scoring just a single goal in the process. With home ground advantage, though, I do feel an upset can be caused. My money is on the draw.
Written by Jesse Nagel