As the AFCON Qualifier matches are set to take place this weekend, Bafana Bafana will be going into a crucial encounter against Nigeria at FNB stadium on Saturday, November 17. The last time these two sides met it was Stuart Baxter’s charges that walked away with a 2-0 victory and will be hoping to do the same on match day. However, the Super Eagles are out for revenge and will be coming out guns blazing, but a point will do as it will be enough to see them through to next year’s event.
James Mayinga gives us his thoughts on who will walk away with a win at Soccer City and on the other games.
Match of the Week
South Africa v Nigeria (AFCON Qualifier)
Match 2 Soccer 6 Pool 17 November S6 V1 P1
League Rankings: South Africa 73rd & Nigeria 44th
Useful facts: The rivalry goes on. There is no love lost between the two nations and Saturday’s clash is set to produce fireworks, especially in light of the fact that Bafana Bafana beat the Super Eagles 2-0 on their home turf in the opening game of the qualifiers more than a year ago. Nigeria, who have since recovered from that defeat to overcome the likes of Libya and Seychelles, will want to return the favour and take advantage against a South African side that has a tendency to blow hot and cold. The absence of Odion Ighalo, who has six goals to his name and is currently the leading goalscorer in the qualifiers, is a big blow for the visitors, but they should still be up for the fight, while Stuart Baxter’s charges are out to prove that the earlier win was no fluke. A point will be enough to see Nigeria qualify for next year’s showpiece in Cameroon, so no prizes for guessing who the pressure is on.
James Mayinga: South Africa win
Equatorial Guinea v Senegal (AFCON Qualifier)
Match 5 Soccer 6 Pool 17 November S6 V1 P1
League Rankings: Equatorial Guinea 146th & Senegal 25th
Useful facts: What else has to be said about this Senegalese side that is brimming with so much quality, talent and class. The West Africans have already secured qualification to the showpiece in Cameroon, proving just what a top team they are, and will surely want to keep the momentum going against Equatorial Guinea. There is not a single game in the current qualifiers that Senegal have not scored, while the home side has only scored one goal from four games, so the Lions of Teranga are the obvious odds-on favourites. Beating a Senegal side filled with overseas-based stars, therefore, could prove a tough ask for the home team, who may, however, capitalise on any complacency that may creep in on Senegal’s side.
James Mayinga: Senegal win
Gabon v Mali (AFCON Qualifier)
Match 6 Soccer 6 Pool 17 November S6 V1 P1
League Rankings: Gabon 83rd & Mali 66th
Useful facts: Gabon and Mali sit in the top two spots in Group B, with Burundi breathing heavily down their necks. A win will be crucial for either side, as it will see them edging closer to qualification, with South Sudan already eliminated. When the two sides met in the reverse fixture back in June last year, it was Mali who emerged victorious by a scoreline of 2-1 and revenge will be on the cards for Gabon, whose players will also be out to continue impressing new man in charge Daniel Cousin. Crucially, talisman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang returns to the squad for the hosts, after missing the last match against South Africa for reasons unspecified.
James Mayinga: Mali win