Durban – Bafana Bafana will be looking for nothing less than victory against Zimbabwe at the FNB Stadium to strengthen their chances of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup. While Hugo Broos’ men will fancy their chances of beating their Southern African neighbors, it must be remembered that Zimbabwe has proven to be a problem for Bafana in recent years.
The Warriors have won two out of their last three games against South Africa. The last time that Bafana beat Zimbabwe was in a 3-0 friendly international win back in January 2010.
The following are three key battles that could decide the Bafana Bafana vs Zimbabwe game.
Percy Tau vs Divine Lunga
Mamelodi Sundowns’ Divine Lunga is likely to be the man to spearhead the defence for Zimbabwe and Tau is likely to return to the Bafana attack where he will be the focal point.
Lunga will be well aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the Bafana attackers given that he has played alongside and against most of them.
If Lunga is not on point in terms of his defending on the day, there is a good chance that the likes of Tau, Bongokuhle Hlongwane, and potentially in form Kaizer Chiefs attacker Bongokuhle Hlongwane will wreak havoc.
Marvelous Nakamba vs Njabulo Ngcobo
Aston Villa’s Nakamba has returned to the Zimbabwean team and should play against Bafana after having missed his nation’s recent games. A first-team regular for Villa in the Premier League, Nakamba is arguably one of the best central midfielders on the African continent and he is a player who can orchestrate attacks and cause problems for Bafana Bafana if they are not on their toes.
Due to his position on the field, Nakamba is likely to be involved in many duels with Kaizer Chiefs’ Ngcobo. The easy availability of Premier League videos should hopefully give Ngcobo and the rest of the Bafana team a sense of what they will have to deal with when they come up against Nakamba.
If Bafana can cut supply to Nakamba, Zimbabwe could find it hard to get going as he will be the engine of their team.
Siyanda Xulu vs Knox Mutizwa
With respect to David Moyo and Macauley Bonne, Knox Mutizwa is the only Zimbabwean striker that Bafana Bafana should be especially weary of given that Lyon’s Tino Kadewere has not been included in the Warriors squad.
Mutizwa may not be the most technically gifted striker around but he is a “tank” that has incredible endurance ability and he has a knack for getting in the right place at the right time, particularly towards the end of games when players start to tire.
Xulu must make sure that he keeps his eyes peeled on the Golden Arrows man at all times.