Three things to look out for when Bafana play DR Congo

Bafana Bafana go up against DR Congo on Saturday night in the Africa Cup of Nations 3rd/4th place play off, with a chance to mach the achievements of 24 years ago, when Trott Moloto’s Bafana won the bronze medal in the 2000 AFCON in Ghana and Nigeria.

While Bafana head coach Hugo Broos would rather this tie were scrapped altogether, there is certainly plenty of pride on the line for both of these nations.

Phakaaathi takes a look at three things to look out for in Abidjan on Saturday.

A chance for some squad players to make their mark

Zakhele Lepasa. Pic: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Bafana head coach Hugo Broos has suggested he may make some changes for this game, and there is a good argument that some of Bafana’s fringe players deserve a chance to show what they can do.

The core of this Bafana side have played two successive games of 120 minutes plus penalties, so there will be some tired legs heading into this game.

A good shout is a run for Zakhele Lepasa, ahead of Evidence Makgopa, while Mihlali Mayambela could also come in, if Broos decides to give Percy Tau or Themba Zwane a rest.

A chance for Mokoena to go out on a high

Teboho Mokoena. Pic: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

One man who almost certainly won’t want to stop playing in this tournament is the tireless Teboho Mokoena, who has been Bafana’s stand-out performer in the Ivory Coast.

Talk is already rife of a move overseas for the 27 year old, who has to be a candidate to be in Caf’s Team of the Tournament.

Mokoena’s only real low of the AFCON was having his penalty saved in the shootout against Nigeria, and he will no doubt be keen to make amends with another stellar display against DR Congo.

A proud defensive record to protect

Siyanda Xulu (right). Picture: Issouf SANOGO / AFP)

Bafana’s defence has been rock solid at this Africa Cup of Nations, apart from one shaky half against Mali in their opening match.

Since then, the only goal Bafana have concede was a Victor Osimhen penalty, an amazing achievement given the quality of attackers they have been up against.

If Bafana can keep a clean sheet against DR Congo, it will be their fifth in seven matches at this tournament, and will give them every chance of taking home a bronze medal.

Siyanda Xulu, brilliant against Nigeria, is one to watch, especially in the absence of the suspended Grant Kekana.