The SA Football Association (Safa) are still finalising the venue for Bafana Bafana’s home 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Sao Tome e Principe in March.
It seems the game will be at an inland stadium‚ and Safa may well go for Soweto with a quick turnaround between the home and away fixture against the tiny West African islands.
The exact dates for the fixtures have also not been released yet‚ but the Fifa window runs from March 23-31.
Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki will be eager to minimise the travel for his players to give them maximum time to prepare‚ and that means being as close to OR Tambo International as possible.
It is the same formula that was used when they had a double-header against Seychelles in the 2019 qualifiers‚ playing the home leg at the FNB Stadium before a meeting with the Indian Ocean Island team in Victoria just three days later.
In that instance, they could at least get a direct flight from Johannesburg to the Seychelles‚ but face a path a lot more convoluted to Sao Tome e Principe.
The quickest route to the islands is via Luanda on Angolan Airlines‚ though flying via Portugal is also an option‚ but a longer way round.
Bafana will meet Sao Tome e Principe for the first time, and could need back-to-back wins to ensure they at least finish second in their qualification pool and reach the finals in Cameroon in January/February 2021.
They will also be eager to make use of the altitude of the highveld to tire the visiting players‚ just as they did when they romped to a record 6-0 victory over Seychelles.
The return will be altogether different though on a substandard artificial surface in Sao Tome that will test the skills of Bafana‚ perhaps more than the opposition players.