FEATURE: The history of Bafana Bafana vs. Cape Verde

Siphiwe Tshabalala against Cape Verde Island
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Ahead of their crunch encounter on Friday, Goal takes a look at the history between Bafana Bafana and the Blue Sharks

South Africa are set to return to Cape Verde Island, 12 years after their very first visit to the West African nation as they take on the Blue Sharks in back-to-back Fifa World Cup qualifiers over the next week, and Goal looks at the history between the two nations.

Bafana Bafana go into the clash boasting a proud unbeaten record against Cape Verde.

The two countries have met on three previous occasions, with the most recent encounter ending in a 0-0 draw at the opening game of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations tournament held in South Africa.

However, this time around, Bafana will be brimming with confidence and will be buoyed by the fact that their previous success against Cape Verde was masterminded by the man currently in charge of the team, Stuart Baxter.

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During the 64-year-old’s first stint in charge of Bafana, he oversaw 2-1 victories both at home and away against the Islanders in World Cup qualifiers, thanks to players of the calibre of Benni McCarthy, Delron Buckley and Mbulelo Mabizela.

Mbulelo Mabizela

But despite the victories, South Africa were eventually unable to secure qualification for the 2006 Fifa World Cup in Germany.

Nonetheless, retribution could be on the cards this time around as South Africa look to give themselves a chance of qualifying for the 2018 Fifa World Cup, but it should be noted that the Cape Verde side has grown in leaps and bounds ever since, having qualified for the 2013 and 2015 African Cup of Nations respectively, advancing along with South Africa into the quarterfinals of the 2013 tournament.

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While South Africa possess a rich football history, Cape Verde on the other hand, are relative novices despite being affiliated with Fifa since 1986.

But it is only recently that the former Portuguese colony have been among African football’s elite.  

Although, South Africa will see themselves as favourites, the history of both nation’s performances in this fixture suggest that the encounter could go either way, particularly because the clash in Praia will be played on an artificial surface, something which the South African’s were not exposed to in 2005.