The Bounce
Doing it for the fans

10 Reasons Bafana Fans Should Be More Worried Than Optimistic.


By Thabang Kgeledi

Bafana Bafana goes into Friday's fixture against Senegal needing two wins in a row against the Lions of Teranga to qualify for the World Cup. Optimism from South African supporters is what is needed in a time like this but they'd be silly if they aren't a bit anxious. 

Haven't we seen this crappy movie before? Bafana Bafana goes into the final group stage matches needing to correct the wrongs of their previous games. 

But, this time, something is a bit different, South Africa don't need favours from other sides to get a result that would benefit them. On this occasion, Bafana Bafana has their fate in their own hands. Just two wins in their next two games book them an economy class flight (SAFA is on a budget) to Moscow. 

Well, that is easier said than done, Senegal goes into the game knowing that a draw would seal the deal for them. Here are 10 reasons why South African football supporters should be more worried than optimistic about Bafana Bafana's chances.

1. Itumeleng Khune might not be 100% fit the game.

Khune sustained a facial injury after a collision with Kurt Lentjies during Kaizer Chiefs Telkom Knockout win against Chippa United this past weekend.

Thanks to Instagram we know that he is fine now but his eye is swollen as if he was in the ring with the '89 Mike Tyson for a couple of rounds. Reports coming from the Bafana camp is he might play with a protective Batman mask. 

This may affect his performance, especially on set pieces. The Senegal players are tough and physical, so the last thing Bafana need is a tentative goalkeeper who cannot commit fully to balls in the air because he is afraid he might reinjure his pretty face.

2. Itumeleng Khune's replacement could be Wayne Sandilands

Should Khune not be able to play, South Africa's next best goalkeeper is Wayne Sandilands. 
Let that sink in for a moment. 

Sandilands, in the past week alone, has cost his Orlando Pirates team three points and a place in the Telkom Knockout semifinal because of his goalkeeping errors. 

3. Sadio Mane is fit.

Senegal's best-attacking player, Sadio Mane sustained a hamstring injury against Cape Verde about a month ago. It was estimated that he would be out for two months which meant he would miss these two World Cup Qualifying games. He however recovered just in time for these two matches because of all the hard work he put in to recuperate, and because the Footballing Gods hate South Africa.

4. Senegal isn't going to underestimate Bafana Bafana again.

South Africa pulled off an Italian Job on the Senegalese last year when they stole three points from the best team in Africa at that time. Fifa ordered that game to be replayed after the referee awarded a penalty for a non-existent handball.

Senegal has been given a second chance to redeem themselves and this time they will be no complacency on their part.

5. Senegal players will be up for it.

Or should I say Sadio Mane will be up for it, I read somewhere he said he will play this game like it's a World Cup final. Okay, that's probably a lie, he didn't say that but a motivated Sadio Mane is bad news for South Africa. 

6. South Africa have to win two games. 

South Africa has to win two games against Senegal to qualify for the World Cup. This leaves no room for error, no room for complacency, no room for Bafana Bafana to be Bafana Bafana.

7. Bafana has to chase the game.

The tactic will be to attack, attack, and attack some more which is a game plan that the Senegalese can easily strategize against because they know it's coming. 

Another disadvantage of all-out attack is when on the front foot you leave yourself exposed at the back and Senegal have good players with pace that can punish you on the counter-attack. 

8. Bafana Bafana's coach is Stuart Baxter.

The main reason South Africa are in the position they are in right now is that their coach is Stuart Baxter. His team selection and tactics cost Bafana 6 points against Cape Verde Islands. Cape Verde Islands were the worst team in the group, had not scored a goal, and have a squad made up of part-time footballers and fishermen. 

9. Midfielders Zungu and Kekana absent.

Bongani Zungu is suspended after a soft red card against Burkina Faso and Hlompo Kekana had to be excused from training camp after a family tragedy. Zungu brings a calming effect in the middle of the park whilst Kekena could have been employed as a player who came on to defend in the midfield when Bafana were winning and needed to protect a lead.

10. The absence of good attacking players.

Having a few attacking options doesn't hurt. Thulani Serero and Tokelo Rantie rejected their call-ups. Serero said he needed to be guaranteed a first-team spot and if not, SAFA can shove their call-up where the sun doesn't shine. Rantie expressed unhappiness at not being named in Baxter's previous squad that beat Burkina Faso 3-1 at FNB Stadium on October 7‚ and said he “needed space to think about his international career”.
For more of Thabang click on through to his blog here.

And follow him on Twitter here.

Tags: bafana bafana, senegal football, world cup qualifiers, thabang kgeledi, sa vs senegal, mane


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