Knowing that they cannot afford to leave anything to chance in these qualifiers, the players know that they have to step up and be counted – none more so than the “fab four”.
COMMON sense would seem to dictate that this should all but be guaranteed maximum points for Bafana Bafana. But that they’ve been disappointing against minnows in the past, means they might have to dig deep for a clean sweep against islanders Sao Tome and Principe.
The South Africans will play the islanders in back-to-back Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers at home, at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, on Friday, 9pm kick-off and “away” at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Monday in a 3pm kick-off.
Knowing that they cannot afford to leave anything to chance in these qualifiers, the players know that they have to step up and be counted; none more so than these four Bafana players who really need to be on point for the two-legged tie:
After four seasons since his blockbuster campaign with Mamelodi Sundowns, Tau has been Bafana’s standout performer. His two-and-a-half year stint in Belgium, where he’s been on loan from English side Brighton & Hove Albion, have groomed Tau into a matured footballer.
But for Tau to increase his chances of returning to his parent club, he’ll have to churn out a consistent outing on every Bafana call up. Around the world, too, for any player to be considered among the best it’s when they play in the major tournaments in the continent and world.
A week after inspiring new club Orlando Pirates to the final of the MTN8 through back-to-back victories over nemesis Kaizer Chiefs, Hlatshwayo claimed how, “I am in the right state of mind”. A feat that could very well come in handy for Bafana.
The Bafana captain knows the dire uncertainty that comes with leaving things late, after qualifying for the last Afcon following the 2-1 win over Libya in the final qualifier, having endured a disappointing outing away to the lowly-ranked Seychelles.
With Bafana also last winning the continental showpiece in 1996, ‘Tyson’ and company will be eager to break that 24-year dry spell. But for that to be realised, the national team needs to unearth a convincing and seamless qualifying process.
Fresh from being crowned the Goalkeeper of the Season in the premier division, for a second season in a row, Williams is coach Molefi Ntseki’s first choice between the sticks – ahead of the experienced Itumeleng Khune and overseas-based Darren Keet.
But a clean sheet in the next two matches will go beyond justifying his selection. Instead, it will be some redemption for the SuperSport United captain who’s still hoping to make amends for his blunders before, including the one in the 2019 Afcon quarter-final against Nigeria.
For years, Erasmus has been earmarked as one of the few marksmen that would dethrone Benni McCarthy as Bafana’s all-time top goal scorer. But the Mamelodi Sundowns’ striker has so far failed to reach his full potential after being troubled by injuries.
But now injury-free and enjoying new life at champions Sundowns, Erasmus will be hoping to bring his scoring boots to the national team.
He is, after all, the experienced talisman in the striking department, ahead of Luther Singh, Thabiso Kutumela and Siyethemba Sithebe.