Bafana Bafana meet hosts Egypt in a mammoth Africa Cup of Nations last-16 clash on Saturday evening and Stuart Baxter faces a selection dilemma after coming under pressure from fans back home, as DEAN WORKMAN explores.
Baxter made a number of changes after his side’s 1-0 opening game loss against Ivory Coast as Darren Keet replaced Ronwen Williams in goal, while midfielder duo Kamohelo Mokotjo and Dean Furman made way for Bongani Zungu and Hlompho Kekana. Baxter’s fourth change had Sibusiso Vilakazi come in for his Mamelodi Sundowns teammate Lebohang Maboe as Bafana went on to clinch a tight 1-0 win over Namibia.
The Bafana coach then brought Mokotjo back in for the clash with Morocco, while also handing Thulani Serero his first taste of action in the tournament as the South Africans conceded a late goal to lose 1-0 to Morocco.
— Bafana Bafana (@BafanaBafana) July 6, 2019
Bafana, though, scraped through to the last 16 and will be facing a massive task as they come up against the hosts Egypt Saturday evening.
Speaking in the buildup to the game, Baxter revealed that Furman is available and spoke on the unavailability of Themba Zwane.
‘Dean Furman trained yesterday and he trained quite well. We took him out towards the end of the training as precautionary and we are waiting to see the reaction to that training today. The medical team will tell me the way forward,’ said Baxter.
‘To lose Themba, Themba has been playing very well for us and is [a] very important part of the team that link sometimes in our transition, he does that very well.
— CAF (@CAF_Online) July 5, 2019
‘He is very creative in the last third and if you lose a good player like Themba, it is a blow but it also opens doors for other players like Maboe [Lebogang] and Lorch. They all want to put up their hands and get a chance,’ he concluded.
With the Mamelodi Sundowns man out we could finally be about to see 2018-19 Absa Premiership Footballer of the Year Lorch handed a starting berth in the wide midfield, while Serero could be dropped to the bench after an ineffective game against the Atlas Lions.
Predicted Bafana starting XI
GK: Darren Keet
RB: Thami Mkhize
CB: Thulani Hlatshwayo
CB: Buhle Mkhwanazi
LB: Sfiso Hlanti
CM: Dean Furman
CM: Kamohelo Mokotjo
RAM: Thembinkhosi Lorch
CAM: Sibusiso Vilakazi
LAM: Percy Tau
ST: Lebo Mothiba
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