Both teams go into the match on the back of heavy defeats in international friendlies.
Cape Town – The Group K action in the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualification starts on Thursday when overwhelming favourites Morocco’s Atlas Lions host South Africa’s Bafana Bafana at the multi-purpose Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat, Morocco (start 9pm SA time).
Both teams go into the match on the back of heavy defeats in international friendlies. Last week African powerhouse Morocco suffered a 3-0 defeat at the hands of the USA at the TQL Stadium, in Cincinnati.
Interestingly from an African perspective, the USA team included Timothy Weah, the son of African legend and former Ballon d’Or winner George Weah, who nowadays serves as the President of Liberia.
The match was Morocco’s warm-up for Thursday’s Afcon curtain-raiser. South Africa were unable to secure a warm-up match because the domestic Premiership competition ended nine days after the scheduled finish for the season.
SA coach Hugo Broos’ attempts to squeeze in a warm-up match at short notice came to nought. The problem arose when Orlando Pirates reached the final of the Caf Confederation Cup and the PSL decided to postpone Pirates’ last three matches.
Two months ago, South Africa were hammered 5-0 by France, the reigning World Cup champions, at the jam-packed Pierre Mauroy Stadium. The French team included some of the world’s best players and since South Africa are in the rebuilding process, many of the greenhorns in the team were unable to withstand the wave of attacks, launched by the French.
A brief look at the match stats showed that France had a 26-3 shots-at-goal count and a 6-0 corner count. That reflects France’s superiority on the night and South Africa’s goalie Ronwen Williams also played his role to prevent a massacre by recording a 10-1 goalkeeper-saves count.
The SA contingent emerged unperturbed by the drubbing and felt that it was a wonderful learning experience against the World champions.
Despite the yawning gap between Morocco (24) and South Africa (69) on the latest world rankings, Bafana Bafana has a fair record against the Atlas Lions.
Morocco’s last 5 results [LWDLW]:
1 Jun 2022: USA 3 – 0 Morocco
29 Mar 2022: Morocco 4 – 1 Côte d’Ivoire
25 Mar 2022: Côte d’Ivoire 1 – 1 Morocco
30 Jan 2022: Egypt 2 – 1 Morocco
25 Jan 2022: Morocco 2 – 1 Malawi
South Africa’s last 5 results [LDLWW]:
29 Mar 2022: France 5 – 0 South Africa
25 Mar 2022: South Africa 0 – 0 Guinea
14 Nov 2021: Ghana 1 – 0 South Africa
11 Nov 2021: South Africa 1 – 0 Zimbabwe
12 Oct 2021: South Africa 1 – 0 Ethiopia
Morocco 8 – 8
South Africa 2 – 6
1 Jul 2019: South Africa 0 – 1 Morocco
11 Oct 2013: Morocco 1 – 1 South Africa
27 Jan 2013: Morocco 2 – 2 South Africa
04 Feb 2004: Morocco 1 – 1 South Africa
30 Jan 2002: South Africa 3 – 1 Morocco