While many are calling Group D, the ‘Group of Death’ following Friday’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) draw, history shows there should be no worries for Bafana Bafana.
South Africa will be taking on former champions Ivory Coast and Morocco, as well as fellow Cosafa member Namibia in the tournament that takes place in Egypt from June 21 to July 19.
Bafana Bafana has played the three countries a total of 19 times – Ivory Coast (six), Morocco (five) and Namibia (eight).
South Africa has not lost to The Elephants (Ivory Coast) as well as The Atlas Lions (Morocco), but have tasted defeat against the Brave Warriors (Namibia). This was in their first-ever meeting back in 1998 in the Cosafa Cup, with Namibia claiming a 3-2 win in Windhoek.
But then the most famous victory for South Africa over their neighbours was when former striker Benni McCarthy scored four goals in 1998 in Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso as Bafana ran out 4-1 winners. This was the match McCarthy used to burst on to the international scene and established himself as one of the most lethal strikers the country has ever produced.
With South Africa coming into the tournament as the defending champions, Benni netted a quick-fire four goals in 20 minutes in the final Afcon Group C match. He remains the country’s all-time top scorer with 31 goals in 80 matches.
In eight outings between the Brave Warriors and Bafana, South Africa have hit the back the net 16 times against Namibia’s eight.
Ivory Coast has lost twice against South Africa, with four matches drawn in their six meetings.
The first victory for Bafana Bafana came in 2003 in an Afcon qualifier played at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane – Shaun Bartlett and Siyabonga Nomvete the scorers in a 2-1 win. The other was five years ago in the last meeting between the two nations in the Nelson Mandela Challenge. The clash took place in Mbombela.
Bafana won their first-ever clash against Morocco 2-1 in 1998 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso – David Nyathi and Benni McCarthy scored the goals.
The success continued in the second match four years later in Segou, Mali – Sibusiso Zuma, Thabo Mngomeni and Siyabonga Nomvete finding the back of the net in a 3-1 win of the Afcon group stages encounter.
With five matches played so far, South Africa won two against Morocco with the other three drawn.
The last time they met was in 2013 in an international friendly match in Agadir, Morocco at the opening of a new stadium – the encounter ended 1-1, Tokelo Rantie scoring in the match.African News Agency