Bafana ready for ‘must win’ clash against Eswatini as Cosafa semi-final quest intensifies

Bafana Bafana are on the verge of securing a place in the semi-finals of the 2023 Cosafa Cup.

Their upcoming match against Eswatini in the final Group A encounter, scheduled to take place at the Princess Magogo Stadium on Tuesday evening, 11 July, holds significant importance.

Bafana currently sit atop Group A with four points, following a 1-1 draw against Namibia last week and a 2-1 victory over Botswana over the weekend.

The triumph over Botswana exhibited South Africa’s resilience, as they staged a comeback after falling behind. Goals from Iqraam Rayners and Shaune Mogaila turned the tide in their favour, taking full advantage of Botswana’s reduced team with only ten players on the field.

“We have to win this one to see ourselves in the semi-finals of the Cosafa Cup,” stand-in Bafana coach for the tournament, Morena Ramoreboli said ahead of the fixture.

“I think it is also proper for me to thank our supporters who have been there for us, giving us a morale boost, rallying behind the team.

“It will be important for us to have them rally behind the team in this coming match (against Eswatini).”

Meanwhile, Bafana captain Lyle Lakay added: “Obviously it is a must win for us. The guys are ready as we’ve watched the game of Eswatini against Namibia. So we did our analysis.

“We are 100 percent confident that we will come away with the win and go through to the semi-final. I’d like to urge the supporters to come out in their numbers and be our 12th man.” 

Eswatini enters the game level with Botswana in the second position, having accumulated three points so far.

Although they suffered a narrow defeat to Botswana in their opening match, they made a strong resurgence in their subsequent fixture against Namibia, emerging victorious through goals scored by Sifiso Matse and Bongwa Matsebula.

Simultaneously, the Moses Mabhida Stadium will host the other Group A clash between Namibia and Botswana. The outcome of this match is crucial, as only the group winners are guaranteed a spot in the semifinals.

The runners-up will have to assess their record against those from Group B and Group C to determine their qualification for the final four.

In terms of their head-to-head encounters, South Africa and Eswatini have faced each other eight times since their first meeting in 2000. Bafana Bafana boasts an impressive unbeaten record in this rivalry, having secured seven victories and one draw.

Their most recent encounter transpired during the 2021 edition of the Cosafa Cup, where South Africa emerged triumphant with a narrow 1-0 victory in a group stage match held in Port Elizabeth. Thabang Sibanyoni etched his name on the scoresheet with a decisive second-half strike.

As Bafana Bafana and Eswatini prepare to clash once again, the stakes are high, with South Africa eyeing a semifinal berth and Eswatini vying to secure their own progression in the tournament.

Kick-off is at 18:00.

Sources from