Three things to look out for when Bafana Bafana take on the Ivory Coast
Will we see some Mothiba magic?
Lebo Mothiba addresses the media ahead of Bafana Bafana’s clash with the Ivory Coast in Abidjan. Picture: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix.
After a poor performance against Eswatini on Friday, which saw head coach Hugo Broos accuse his players of lacking “passion”, Bafana Bafana now face the Ivory Coast in Abidjan in another international friendly on Wednesday evening.
The Stade Félix Houphouët Boigny is expected to be packed with around 40 000 supporters, and on top of a hostile home crowd, Bafana are also going to face an Elephants side with far more pedigree than Eswatini.
Bafana could only muster a goalless draw in Friday’s game at Orlando Stadium, and will hope to put up a far better showing, even if they lose this time to a side with an abundance of stars from across Europe’s leagues.
Phakaaathi editor Jonty Mark takes a look at three things to look out for in Tuesday night’s match, which kicks off at 9pm SA time.
- Can Lebo Mothiba spark Broos’ attack into life?
With Zakhele Lepasa missing from the Bafana squad through injury, and Lyle Foster surely more suited to a place on the side of the attack, it could well be that the Bafana head coach turns to Mothiba to lead the line against the Elephants.
Broos has already said that the Strasbourg striker offers what no other attacker in the Bafana side can bring, in terms of his physical presence, and that may well be exactly what Bafana need in Abidjan.
Mothiba’s ability to hold the ball up could be vital in bringing Bafana’s other attackers, like Foster, into the game.
- A taste of next year’s Afcon finals
The Ivory Coast will host the Africa Cup of Nations finals early next year, and Bafana Bafana are set to experience the home atmosphere in Abidjan, which should be electric.
The Elephants are likely to have a passionate home support cheering them on and this Bafana side could certainly do with playing in front of larger crowds ahead of the finals, especially given that they so rarely get a decent attendance back in South Africa.
- Fight like the Boks
There are plenty of good reasons why we cannot expect Bafana Bafana to have the same success as the Springboks, from an incomparable legacy of financial backing to the simple amount of teams that play the beautiful game of football, as opposed to rugby.
What is marked, however, is how much fight and desire the Boks play with, illiustrated perfectly as they took down hosts France in a thrilling World Cup quarterfinal against France on Sunday night. Bafana, if nothing else, need to show more appetite for the battle when they take on the Ivory Coast.
They have done it before, like when they picked up a vital win in Liberia during Afcon qualifying, and when they subsequently stunned Morocco at home. With vital World Cup qualifiers coming up, as well as the Afcon finals, Hugo Broos’ Bafana need to show what they are made of.