Bafana Bafana Set for World Cup Qualifier Showdown Against Nigeria

Bafana Bafana Set for World Cup Qualifier Showdown Against Nigeria

South Africa’s national football team, Bafana Bafana, is gearing up for a pivotal World Cup qualifier against Nigeria’s Super Eagles.

The match is scheduled for Friday, June 7, in Uyo, Nigeria, with a kickoff time of 21:00. This game is crucial for Bafana Bafana, who currently hold three points from their previous matches—a defeat to Rwanda and a victory over Benin.

Controversial Striking Decisions

A significant talking point following the announcement of the 23-man squad by coach Hugo Broos is the omission of Tshegofatso Mabasa.

Despite being the top scorer in the DStv Premiership with 16 goals and winning the Golden Boot, Mabasa was left out.

Instead, Broos favored Evidence Makgopa, who played a crucial role in the Orlando Pirates’ recent Nedbank Cup final win over Sundowns.

Makgopa, a key player in Bafana’s bronze medal run at Afcon 2023, was not included in the final squad for these qualifiers.

The selected attackers are Themba Zwane, Iqraam Rayners, Percy Tau, Oswin Appollis, Elias Mokwana, Relebohile Mofokeng, Patrick Maswanganyi, and Lyle Foster.

Rising Star Relebohile Mofokeng

The 19-year-old Relebohile Mofokeng has generated significant buzz following his winning goal in the Nedbank Cup final.

Mofokeng is set to make his national team debut against Nigeria. However, Hugo Broos has called for a cautious approach to managing the young talent’s career.

Broos referenced the experience of Mailula, who struggled after moving to Toronto, to highlight the challenges young players can face in their early international careers.

South Africa’s Recent Performance

Bafana Bafana has shown resilience under Hugo Broos, becoming a difficult team to defeat.

However, they have struggled to secure victories, with their last five matches ending in draws (within 90 minutes and including friendlies).

This pattern extends to six of their last seven games. While the team is defensively solid, issues with finishing and closing out games persist.

The Squad at a Glance

For those who may have missed the initial announcement, here is a reminder of the 23-man squad selected for the World Cup qualifiers against Nigeria and Zimbabwe:

  • Goalkeepers: Ronwen Williams, Veli Mothwa, Ricardo Goss
  • Defenders: Thapelo Morena, Innocent Maela, Siyanda Xulu, Thulani Hlatshwayo, Sifiso Hlanti, Nyiko Mobbie, Nkosinathi Sibisi
  • Midfielders: Teboho Mokoena, Mothobi Mvala, Themba Zwane, Sphelele Mkhulise, Bongokuhle Hlongwane, Luke Le Roux, Kamohelo Mokotjo, Lyle Lakay
  • Forwards: Percy Tau, Iqraam Rayners, Oswin Appollis, Elias Mokwana, Relebohile Mofokeng, Patrick Maswanganyi, Lyle Foster

Broos’ Warning and Advice

Hugo Broos has been vocal about the need for careful management of young players like Mofokeng.

He advised against rushing into decisions that might hinder their development.

Using Mailula’s experience in Toronto as a cautionary tale, Broos emphasized the importance of strategic career moves for young talents.

Looking Ahead to the Nigeria Clash

South Africa’s match against Nigeria is highly anticipated, with fans eager to see if Bafana Bafana can secure a crucial victory.

The team’s defensive solidity and recent form suggest a tough match ahead, but the ability to convert opportunities into goals will be key.

Conclusion

As Bafana Bafana prepares for their World Cup qualifier against Nigeria, all eyes are on the squad selections and tactical decisions by Hugo Broos.

The omission of Tshegofatso Mabasa in favor of Evidence Makgopa, and the debut of young star Relebohile Mofokeng, are key points of interest.

With a solid defensive record but a need to improve their finishing, South Africa hopes to exact revenge against the Super Eagles and secure vital points on their road to World Cup qualification.