Bafana Bafana take on Ghana and Sudan in the Afcon 2021 qualifiers in the coming days, looking to get their quest for qualification off to a good start. SoccerClub writer DEAN WORKMAN selects five players who will be key for coach Molefi Ntseki.
The South African team shocked the footballing world as they overcame hosts Egypt in the last 16 of the continental showpiece in the north African country in July.
Bafana may have gone on to lose against rivals Nigeria in the quarter-finals, but the last-eight exit was the side’s best finish at Afcon in 12 years.
Now, under the tutelage of Ntseki, Bafana are looking to get off their latest qualification campaign off to a fast start.
SoccerClub identifies five players who will be key to Bafana’s quest to pick up maximum points from the opening games:
Goalkeepers hard at work preparing for the 1st #2021AFCONq against Ghana at the Cape Coast Stadium at 9pm SA time. #GHARSA @BafanaBafana @Banyana_Banyana @COSAFAMEDIA @SAFA_net pic.twitter.com/FojFDcdoxL
— Bafana Bafana (@BafanaBafana) November 13, 2019
The SuperSport stopper enjoyed a stellar 2018-19 season, establishing himself as the side’s No 1 player with Itumeleng Khune out injured.
He has continued to grow in confidence and stature since his strong showings in Egypt and is looking to fill the void left by Khune.
Williams’ shotstopping ability will prove key as Bafana look to keep their defensively solid base with the 27-year-old in goal.
9 minutes into his #UCL Percy Tau registered his first assist to help Club Brugge open the scoring.
— Football Talk Zone (@Footy_Talk_Zone) October 1, 2019
Now in his second year in European football, Tau is continuously improving, having already starred at the Santiago Bernabeu for his club side Club Brugge in the Uefa Champions League this season.
He will be looking to use his experience of battling with the best to help improve his national teammates, while also utilising his undoubted talent and ruthlessness in front of goal to fire Bafana past Ghana and Sudan.
Kamohelo Mokotjo’s 1st goal of the seasonpic.twitter.com/4ED5902V5F
— SA Football Players Abroad (@SaFootbalAbroad) November 10, 2019
The midfielder, who plies his trade in the English Championship League, has lately been in fine form – he scored a goal and picked up an assist in his side’s last league game against Wigan.
Mokotjo formed a key part of former coach Stuart Baxter’s midfield and is likely to be the lynchpin in Ntseki’s engine room as well.
The Brentford midfielder’s ability to break up play and controlling the midfield will be integral against Ghana and Sudan.
MILESTONE | Lebo Mothiba (23) hadn’t scored since May.
That ended yesterday with a big performance vs. Nîmes!
5 shots on target
100% dribbles won
Still one of South Africa’s top young strikers. Will the form continue? pic.twitter.com/QCXOH0oqUb
— Football Wonderkidz (@FootWonderkidz) November 10, 2019
The young forward has had a difficult start to the season with French club Strasbourg after a gruelling Afcon campaign.
However, he has worked his way back into the team and bagged three goals in his last three games in Ligue 1.
Mothiba’s strength and ability to hold the ball up will be key against the physicality of the Ghanaians, as he will be looking to link up with Tau and co.
As a forward Mothiba will be judged on his goal contribution, but his role in leading the line will be vital for Ntseki whether he is banging the goals in or not.
— Dean Workman (@DeanoWorks) November 11, 2019
The Bafana captain has spent the past few weeks watching close friend and Springbok captain Siya Kolisi guide South Africa to Rugby World Cup glory.
With Bafana now the national team in the spotlight, their leader recently claimed that they been inspired by the Springboks’ momentous feat.
Hlatshwayo will not only be integral in the heart of the Bafana defence, but his leadership of the team will be just as important as they look to build on their previous Afcon campaign.
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