Bafana prepare for 18th meeting with regular opponents Zambia
If there is a default opponent for Bafana Bafana‚ particularly when they need a friendly international‚ then Zambia are the ‘go-to guys’.
Tuesday night’s international at Moruleng Stadium will be the 18th meeting between the two countries -- making Chipolopolo by far the most frequent of Bafana’s opponent.
It makes sense‚ given the on-going tussle between the two for supremacy in the region.
There have been several notable clashes in the past and maybe high and low lights:
- Zambia were the first country that Bafana hosted in a competitive international with Timothy Mwitwa scoring some 20 minutes from time at Soccer City to hand South Africa defeat in a 1994 African Nations Cup qualifier.
- Bafana’s first four red cards all came against Zambia in the early years of readmission.
- Phil Masinga became the first SA player to be sent to the stands in August 1992‚ before both coach Augusto Palacios and defender Gardner Seale saw red a year later in a 3-0 away defeat against Chipolopolo.
- The term ‘Madiba Magic’ was termed after Nelson Mandela came late from his presidential inauguration for the celebratory game at Ellis Park in May 1994 and halftime was lengthened to allow him to meet the players.
- Bafana were trailing Zambia but after meeting the new president‚ Brendan Augustine and Doctor Khumalo scored in quick succession and Bafana went on to win.
- South Africa came close to becoming the first team in some 20 years to beat Zambia at the Independence Stadium in Lusaka in a competitive when they led until the last four minutes of their Nations Cup qualifier in November 1994.
- Then Masinga tripped up a Zambian and they equalised from the resultant spot kick.
- Andre Arendse took over from Steve Crowley as first choice goalkeeper‚ and went on to win 67 caps‚ after coming on at half-time of the Four Nations Cup clash at Loftus Versfeld that ended 2-2.
- Helman Mkhalele dribbled the Zambians ragged in one of Bafana’s finest performances as they trashed Kalusha Bwalya and his cohorts 3-0 at Soccer City in June 1997 to take a giant step closer to qualifying for the World Cup in France.
- Philippe Troussier’s first game in charge of Bafana before the 1998 World Cup was as 1-1 draw at Soccer City with Zambia’s scorer turning out to be a player with a false name – Matthews Kamwashi turned up years later as Kanku Mulekalayi‚ who played at Ajax Cape Town.
- Zambia’s win over Bafana in Alexandria‚ Egypt marked a low point for South Africa as they lost all three games at the 2006 African Nations Cup under Ted Dumitru without scoring a single goal.
- Beating Zambia in Lusaka just nine months later‚ this time with caretaker coach Pitso Mosimane in charge at the start of the 2008 Nations Cup qualifiers‚ was one of Bafana’s finest hours with Aaron Mokoena heading home the winner.
- One of Bafana’s worst hours was at Newlands in Cape Town when they hosted Zambia in September 2007 and were 3-0 down after just 21 minutes as Chris Katongo grabbed a hat trick.
- One month later‚ in the final of the Cosafa Castle Cup‚ Bafana beat Zambia 4-3 on post match penalties after a goalless draw in Bloemfontein to win the annual southern African championship.
- Match number 17 between the two countries was two and a half years ago at the Orlando Stadium in a friendly that Bafana won 1-0 with a late goal from Thuso Phala.
- TMG Digital