Bafana Bafana will travel to Ethiopia for their third Fifa World Cup Group G qualifier. Here are five talking points ahead of the encounter at the Bahir Dar Stadium on Saturday.
Bafana can cement their place on top
Bafana were forced to settle for a point in their opening group game when they played to a goalless draw against Zimbabwe before snatching a 1-0 victory over Ghana. That win moved South Africa to the top of the Group G standings with four points from two matches.
Hugo Broos’ men will have the chance to extend their lead at the summit and exert their dominance in the group by aiming to walk away with six points from their back-to-back fixtures against Ethiopia within the space of three days to complete their quest of booking their place at next year’s Fifa World Cup in Qatar.
South Africa can’t take Ethiopia lightly
The East African side may not be favourites against Bafana but they have made great strides in showing how dangerous they can be on home soil, having bounced back from their defeat to Ghana in the opening game to securing a home win over Zimbabwe.
This will be a huge test for both nations as the results could prove the way for either team to book their place in the next stage of the qualifiers, but a victory on home soil will give them confidence of doing the double over SA when they travel to Soweto for the return leg on Tuesday.
Another chance for the youngsters to shine
Broos previously stated his ambition to have a youthful squad and has roped in some during their previous qualifying matches. The likes of Teboho Mokwena, Ethan Brooks, Luke Fleurs, Evidence Makgopa, Njabulo Blom and Jesse Donn will benefit from the getting much-need international experience within the Bafana ranks. However, it is yet to be seen who will get the nod to showcase their talent against Ethiopia.
Victor Letsoalo in red-hot form
The 28-year-old has been a revelation for Royal AM since the start of the new campaign and has been the driving force for their success so far with five goals to his name, all coming in his last four matches for his club.
His form has earned him another call up to the national team, having already featured in their draw against Zimbabwe and their win over Ghana. Although it is yet to be confirmed whether or not he’ll start for Bafana, Letsoalo will be hungry to find the net against Ethiopia and emulate his club form with the national team.
Abubeker Nasser a threat Bafana need to nullify
The 21-year-old wonderkid will be one of the biggest threats Bafana will face when they square off at the Bahir Bar Stadium. He has become hot property after netting a record-breaking 29 goals in 23 games in the Ethiopian top flight league this past season and was also voted Player of the Year and Best Young Player of the Year.
Nasser has already scored three goals for the national team in 10 appearances, however, he is yet to score in first goal in the Group G qualifiers. That won’t stop him from terrorising the South African defence with his pace, composure and keen eye for goal.