Following an embarrassing defeat to Madagascar, Bafana recently put on a improved showing against Namibia where they comfortably dispatched of the Brave Warriors by four goals to one. But despite Bafana's confidence having been given a major boost, they will be wary of Botswana and their attacking threat.
Under coach Major David Bright, Botswana have been playing an exciting brand of football, and were perhaps unlucky not to have gone further in the competition as the youthful looking Botswana were edged out on penalties. But they too redeemed themselves as they put two goals past Swaziland without reply.
However, on paper it is Stuart Baxter’s men who seem to be clear favourites. The clash at the Peter Mokaba Stadium is set to be the 10th meeting between the two sides with Bafana having previously won seven, suffering just a solitary defeat at the hands of Botswana. This defeat came back in 2015 where the Zebras beat their opponents on penalties.
Nonetheless, both sides have experienced contrasting fortunes since then but with this being the final game of their respective Cosafa Cup campaigns, both sides will look to end it on a high. Most importantly, Bafana’s head coach Baxter will look to build on his side’s recent success, and players such as Egypt-based Gift Links and Maritzburg United playmaker Lebohang Maboe are expected to be given a run once again. Baxter though has used the tournament to test out some new combinations and could potentially look to give exciting Orlando Pirates attacker Lyle Foster among others some game time, especially as they are without Fortune Makaringe who is suspended, but the experience of Siyanda Xulu at the back is expected to bring leadership and a sense of calm.
Although, the game in terms of importance may not mean much with the 2019 African Cup of Nations qualifiers set for later this year, this is perhaps the last chance for either side to prepare for their respective clashes, especially as both nations will be watching the 2018 Fifa World Cup in front of their TV screens.
Following the latest release of the Fifa World Rankings, Bafana dropped two positions, as they occupy 74th spot while Botswana are ranked 139 in the work. This may seem like a clear indication of how the direction of the match could go, but as Bafana learnt earlier in the competition against the islanders, no team can be underestimated.