Jonty Mark

By Jonty Mark

Football Editor

Mabizela magic and a double World Cup shock – the history of Bafana v Cape Verde

Bafana and Cape Verde have already met five times, and honours are even.

Bafana Bafana will face Cape Verde on Saturday in an Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinal, hoping to overturn a run of three games without a win against the island nation.

South Africa have been billed by many as favourites to beat Cape Verde, but they have not beaten Saturday’s opponents in almost 20 years.

Phakaaathi takes a look at all five of the previous meetings between these two teams, starting with a one-man show from Mbulelo ‘Old John’ Mabizela.

June 8, 2004

Vodacom Park, Bloemfontein

South Africa 2 (Mabizela 41, 69) Cape Verde 1 (Janicio Martins 74)

Mbulelo Mabizela celebrates scoring the second goal against Cape Verde in June 2004. Picture: Tertius Pickard \ Gallo Images

Mbulelo Mabizela was one of the best defenders this country has ever produced, and it is a real shame off-the-field issues so badly affected his playing career.

This joint Africa Cup of Nations and Fifa World Cup qualifier came with Mabizela at his peak, on the books of Tottenham Hotspur and made captain of the team by head coach Stuart Baxter. Bafana struggled against Cape Verde in Bloemfontein, but Mabizela took it upon himself to grab the game by the scruff of the neck, netting five minutes before the break and then smashing in an absolute rocket (see below) in the 68th minute.

June 5, 2005

Estadio de Varzea, Praia

Cape Verde 1 (Arlindo Gomes 78) Bafana Bafana 2 (Buckley 11, McCarthy 13)

Bafana Bafana made light work of a potentially tricky away day in the Cape Verde capital Praia, in the return leg of their World Cup qualifier a year or so later. Early goals from Delron Buckley and Benni McCarthy quietened a boisterous home crowd, and Arlindo Gomes’ 77th minute strike only proved a consolation for Cape Verde.

The win put Bafana top of their World Cup qualifying group, but the joy didn’t last too long as defeat at home to Ghana left Bafana’s dreams of playing at Germany 2006 in pieces. Baxter resigned in November 2005 claiming there was a conspiracy to push him out of the job. Ted Dumitru took charge of the team for the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations, but they exited the tournament without a single point or a single goal.

January 19, 2013

FNB Stadium

Bafana Bafana 0 Cape Verde 0

Gordon Igesund’s Bafana Bafana played their opening game of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations finals against Cape Verde at FNB Stadium.

This was an uninspiring affair played out in the pouring Johannesburg rain, with neither side posing much of a threat in attack.

“The guys were very nervous,” said Igesund after the match.

“I’ve never seen them like that. We weren’t keeping possession the way we can do we were rushing it.”

September 1, 2017

Estadio Nacional de Cabo Verde, Praia

Cape Verde 2 (Nuno Rocha, 33, 38 (pen) Bafana Bafana 1 (Rantie 14)

With Stuart Baxter back at the helm, Bafana Bafana blew up their World Cup 2018 qualifying campaign in about five days, losing to Cape Verde in back-to-back matches.

In the first game in Praia, Tokelo Rantie burst clear of the Cape Verde defence to slot Bafana into a 1-0 lead, but the home side were in front before the break. Nuno Rocha scuffed a shot past Ronwen Williams, before the same player netted from the spot.

To make matters worse for Bafana, Kaizer Chiefs defender Erick Mathoho was sent off in the second half.

September 5, 2017

Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban

Bafana Bafana 1 (Jali 90) Cape Verde 2 (Garry Rodrigues 52, 67)

Garry Rodrigues celebrates one of his goals against Bafana. Picture: Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images

Bafana would still have given themselves a reasonable shot at qualifying for the World Cup if they had beaten Cape Verde four days later in Durban. Instead it was Cape Verde who boosted their hopes of making it to Russia with two thunderous goals from Garry Rodrigues.

In the 52nd minute, Rodrigues blasted a free kick past Wayne Sandilands and he hit another rocket in the 67th minute to give the Blue Sharks a famous win. Substitute Andile Jali’s late goal was not enough to help Bafana.

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