Bafana Bafana find themselves in a very precarious situation ahead of their do-or-die encounter against Sudan today. Former coach Clive Barker said the national team will need to be more bullish in Khartoum if they are serious about qualifying.
The South Africans have a tough task in their final match of the qualifiers. They are joint leaders with Ghana on 10 points, while Sudan are third on nine points.
Bafana need a draw and must avoid a defeat if they harbour any wishes of booking their ticket to the Afcon tournament that will be held in Cameroon. Bafana were held to a rather disappointing 1-1 draw by Ghana in the penultimate match in Joburg on Thursday.
“They need to go out there and dictate the game from the start. I think they stood back against Ghana and that allowed them to score that goal,” said Barker, who led Bafana to the Afcon victory in 1996.
“Bafana were too cautious at home and they cannot afford to concede a goal in Sudan because that could prove problematic.
“With talented players such as Percy Tau and Themba Zwane, they must just play off the cuff. It will be a mountain to climb in Sudan but they have a chance.
“Generally, it is tough playing up in the continent, but I am confident that they will get a point.
“They have a good coach who seems to be very organised. It is going to be a nightmare if they do not qualify.”
After the Ghana match, Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki said that they have a plan for Sudan. He said that Sudan will come at them aggressively in search of goals and that will open them up on the transition counter-attack.
Earlier in the qualifiers, South Africa failed to dominate the Sudanese in their 1-0 win at Orlando Stadium in the first leg in 2019. Lebogang Phiri’s goal separated the two sides and Ntseki’s charges are most likely to struggle in Khartoum today.
In November, Sudan pulled off a major surprise by resuscitating their qualifying campaign with a 1-0 win over the Black Stars of Ghana. Mohamed Abdelrahman scored a last-gasp goal two minutes into injury time. Sudan also defeated the hapless Sao Tome 2-0 this past week, giving the South Africans a major headache. Before Sudan’s encounter against Ghana, Bafana were almost sure of qualifying, but Abdelrahman’s late winner threw the spanner in the works.
• SA must avoid a loss.
• A win or a draw will be enough for SA to qualify.
• Sudan will overtake Bafana if they win.
• Ghana have an easy task against Sao Tome who have lost all their matches.