South Africa’s chances of being among five African countries to represent the continent at football’s biggest showpiece were somehow spoilt following a surprise 2-1 defeat to Cape Verde in Praia on Friday.
But with other Group D contenders Burkina Faso and Senegal drawing 0-0 in Ouagadougou, Bafana Bafana were again given a massive lifeline which all and sundry agree should be embraced with both hands.
“Somehow, we all felt deflated by that result (2-1 defeat to Cape Verde) but the following day we were thrown a huge lifeline with Burkina Faso and Senegal playing to a goalless draw.
“Now, we are aware of what is expected of us on Tuesday. In football, there are strange twists and turns but you don’t want to leave it to fate. As things stand, the destiny remains in our hands,” said coach Stuart Baxter reflecting on the loss and looking forward to Tuesday’s match.
The coach says Cape Verde will be buoyed by the 2-1 win at home and will most likely be adventurous which will play to his strategy of going on the offensive.
“Friday’s game was one of those games where we never got going. Nothing seemed to work on the day apart from the first 20 minute in which we took a deserved lead. After that, we made what I thought were elementary mistakes but we have spoken about it as a team,” he said.
A win for Bafana Bafana will take their points tally to 7 and will take leadership of the group provided Senegal and Burkina Faso play to another draw.
That will leave South Africa needing to beat Burkina Faso at home and hope Cape Verde shock Senegal in Praia to seal qualification to Russia.
“Everything is possible in football,” said captain Thulani Hlatshwayo. “We have ourselves to blame for what happened in Praia; we made life difficult for ourselves by making avoidable human errors but that is football. Had we won that match, we could have taken total grip of the Group.”
Hlatshwayo said it was now imperative to concentrate on the next three games and give Bafana Bafana fans a good gift by qualifying for Russia 2018.
“It has been long since we last qualified for the FIFA World Cup and if we do so, it will give a nation a massive lift,” he said.
Twitter Expectation for the Durban encounter
Here's a collection of Tweets from Bafana Bafana fans, who are losing hope in their team qualifying for the Fifa 2018 World Cup, after the disappointing display away to Cape Verde.
However when SA needs to turn things around, this is perhaps when they will step up and get themselves back in contention. Perhaps Bafana will restore the public's hope on Tuesday night.
Bafana Bafana can give you a permanent heart attack..... I don't see them qualifying for 2018. pic.twitter.com/ZpviSjGYVu— KING-SOLONON (@Solomon_Mabee) September 4, 2017
@BafanaBafana our players are a shame to the nation— sbona shoba (@SsSbona) September 4, 2017
Bafana bafana nice to see the coach getting an early start on the excuses— Jason Holland (@JasonHol84) September 4, 2017
Back to the weekend: can someone please remind me when Bafana-Bafana last won a game,I have a short memory— Pretty (@pretty_nomlomo) September 4, 2017
Listen: Stuart Baxter addresses media today ahead of Cape Verde return leg. https://t.co/HD4of1SwtL— SAFA.net (@SAFA_net) September 3, 2017
Ancestors are turning their back on Bafana after the introduction of a certain Quinton who rejected SA when he was at the top of his game— Siphiwo K mungeka (@kennethmungeka1) September 4, 2017
Coach Stuart Baxter will have a Press Conference on Sunday morning (10h00) at Umhlanga Garden Court in Durban.— Bafana Bafana (@BafanaBafana) September 3, 2017
All media welcome pic.twitter.com/mf6k0MsL3O
Bafana Bafana is a disgrace, you'd put them in a group with Gibraltar, Pakistan and Sri Lanka they'd still finish third in a group.— Mwezi Tshabalala (@MweziTshabalala) September 4, 2017
Lol,, Shit I even forgot that we have a team called Bafana Bafana. Really?? T.jack??— TJACK (@t_tjack) September 4, 2017
opinion on bafana bafana I think Ronwen Williams was not suppose to start because I don't remember any win in him in poles even tha penalty— Thandikaya Koti (@ThandikayaKoti) September 4, 2017