Sports Mole provides an overview of Tuesday’s COSAFA Cup clash between South Africa and Botswana, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
South Africa and Botswana kick off their COSAFA Cup campaigns on Tuesday, as they face off in the group opener.
Both nations have failed to qualify for the next Africa Cup of Nations and will seek to redeem themselves with positive runs in this tournament.
Despite bringing in an exciting generation of talent, South Africa failed to qualify for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations as they finished third in their qualifying group.
They looked set to finish in the top two of the group after collecting nine points in their first four games, but a draw with Ghana meant they faced Sudan in the final round of matches with a place in the tournament in Game.
Objectives of Saifeldin Malik Bakhit Maki and Mohamed Abdel Raman Yousif saw Sudan take a 2-0 victory and overtake Bafana Bafana, seeing South Africa miss the Africa Cup of Nations.
This disappointment led to Molefi Ntsekidismissal of, with the former Belgian defender Hugo broos pick up in May.
In their first match in the hot seat, Broos saw his side beat Uganda 3-2 in a friendly in June, as they came back from a lost goal to take a 3-1 lead thanks to a Makgopa proof hug and a Bongokuhle Hlongwane goal, before Lumala Abdu brought home a goal for the visitors in the dying minutes.
Coming into this tournament as one of the favorites to lift the trophy, Broos’ men will look to start their campaign with a convincing win to build confidence for the rest of the group stage.
They will face a Botswana team who will also be looking to recover from the disappointment of failing in qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations.
Their wait for a major tournament continued, failing to qualify since their first appearance in continental competition in 2012, when the Zebras crashed after losing all three games.
Botswana finished close to their qualifying group with just four points from six matches, having only beaten Zambia in Moshe gaolaolwe scored the only goal of the game in the sixth minute.
They have yet to return to action since that disappointing qualifying campaign, their last game being in March when they were beaten 5-0 by a strong Algerian side.
Adel amroucheThe men will look to put that behind them and kick off a strong COSAFA Cup campaign with what would be an impressive win on Tuesday.
South Africa form (all competitions):
Form of Botswana (all competitions):
Bongokuhle Hlongwane is expected to lead the Bafana Bafana line, having scored his first international goal in his second cap in the friendly victory over Uganda.
Although three Kaizer Chiefs players have been named to the initial squad, they will not be available for this clash after the South African giants beat Wydad AC 1-0 overall to reach the Champions League final. CAF, which means goalkeeper Bruce bvuma, defender Siyabonga Ngezana and midfielder Happy Mashiane stay in their club.
This should see the stopper of the golden arrows Sifiso Mlungwana start between the sticks, while Farmer Denwin and Rushine De Reuck should play in the heart of the defense.
Botswanan defender Thatayaone Ditlhokwe Currently plying his trade in South Africa for Supersport United, and he could face some of his national teammates on Tuesday.
In the absence of an experienced caretaker Kabelo DambÃ©, Ezekiel Morake should start between the sticks, while Onkabetse Makgantai will probably be in the lead.
Possible starting eleven for South Africa:
Mlungwana; Mphahlele, De Reuck, Farmer, Phillips; Mkhulise, Brooks, Sithebe, Pule; Mabasa, Hlongwane
Possible starting eleven from Botswana:
Morake; Ditlhokwe, Gaolaolwe, Kebue, Johnson; Setsile, Mpolokang, Cooper, Orebonye; Kgomo, Malgas
We say: South Africa 2-0 Botswana
After narrowly missing the Africa Cup of Nations, Broos’ men will desperately need to bounce back with a strong cup campaign, starting on Tuesday.
They will aim for a win to set the pace for the competition, and should have enough to outperform Botswana if they click well together.