By Jafferson Ndhlovu,
2018 World Cup qualifiers Africa zone for most groups will to end this weekend. But for group D involving Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Senegal and South Africa will have to wait just a little bit until the Tuesday the 14th of November 2017.
This friday, the 10th November though at the Peter Mukaba Stadium, in Polokwane South Africa host Senegal for a match that Fifa ordered that be replayed. The initial match was won by South Africa.
In the aftermath Fifa discovered irregularities in the handling of the match and a Ghanaian referee in charge was found wanting and tempering with the outcome of the match. Fifa found that there was outside interference with match official’s help. The man at the centre was reprimanded with a life ban from football activities falling under the umbrella of Fifa. A replay was ordered.
None of two teams protested South Africa and Senegal but Burkina Faso did and strangely Fifa has decided on that yet. Though Fifa agreed to foot the bill of hosting the said rematch.
Bafana Bafana were fully in contention for qualification. But it appears that recall disillusioned them and went on to lose back to back against Cape Verde both home and away with an identical scoreline 2-1.
Burkina Faso and Senegal could not take advantage of that to completely eliminate South Africa as they had two stalemates in their back to matches. Nil in Senegal and 2all in Burkina Faso.
Bafana Bafana regroup and beat the Burkinabes at home 3-1 while the Teranga Lions travelled to Island of Cape Verde and won 2nil. To send them right back on top of Group D.
A win for the hosts this Friday will give them a huge boost heading into the final match four days later in Senegal and will throw the whole group into another interesting final day of games. Because all four teams will have a say in who takes top spot.
But should the Teranga Lions win in South Africa then they are heading to their second World Cup finals. Following the class of 2002 dubbed France B.
These teams have beaten each once in the past. And they have recorded draws in the period running from 2005 to date. Ignoring the cancelled match. They have met a total of 10 times producing 10 goals with 5 apiece. South Africa were the last victors in 2015. And Senegal first victors in 2005.
There isn’t much to separate these two sides in terms of average age. Though SA has more aged players on average. Running at 28.8 as opposed to Senegal at 27.1
South African defender Morgan Gould at 34 stands out as the most senior in both side as the eldest in Teranga Lions is K N’Diaye at 32. They both share the teenages at the age of 19.
There are no reported injuries in both sides. And to be excited will Senegal after their Anfield Stadium talisman Sadio Mane played in Liverpool’s demolition of West Ham United. Mane had not seen competitive football action after injuring himself doing duty for his country in Cape Verde.
He was a doubt and admittedly so Jurgen Klopp was astonished at his performance after a long lay off and trained with the team twice. But played like true Teranga Lion. Senegal needs every manpower they can have.