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Bafana's 2018 World Cup fate to be decided in coming months

04 August 2017 - 16:09 By Mahlatse Mphahlele
Bafana Bafana players during a training session at FNB Stadium.
Bafana Bafana players during a training session at FNB Stadium.
Image: Gallo Images

Bafana Bafana’s qualification programme for the 2018 World Cup in Russia resumes next month‚ with four important upcoming matches this year in their group scheduled until November.

The South African Football Association released a calendar with national team fixtures‚ outlining the exact dates and venues for Bafana's upcoming 2018 World Cup and 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Bafana‚ who resume their campaign under new coach Stuart Baxter‚ currently are second on goal difference behind leaders Burkina Faso in World Cup qualifying Group D with four points from two matches as a result of a vital home win over Senegal and an away draw against Burkina Faso.

Baxter’s first match of the World Cup qualifiers is a potentially tricky trip to the Estádio Nacional in Praia‚ Cape Verde on September 1‚ which will be followed by the return leg against the same opposition at the Moses Mabhida Stadium four days later.

They then host Burkina Faso at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on October 7 and round off the qualifiers with an away trip to star-studded Senegal on November 11‚ who will be looking for revenge after they lost 2-1 in Polokwane.

In that period‚ Bafana have also scheduled two international friendly matches against opposition and venues yet to be confirmed on October 10 and in the annual Nelson Mandela Challenge match on November 14.

Early next year‚ Baxter’s side will resume their 2019 Afcon qualifiers with their first assignment coming up against Libya on March 24 at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

The match against Libya will be followed by another international friendly against unconfirmed opposition three days later.

In September‚ Bafana host Seychelles in back-to-back Afcon qualifiers on the 8th and 11th‚ starting at home before they host Nigeria in October and completing the qualification programme against Libya away in November 2018.

Currently‚ Bafana are placed second in Cameroon 2019's qualifying Group E with three points on goal difference behind first-placed Libya from an emphatic 2-0 away win against Nigeria in Uyo two months ago‚ South Africa’s first competitive victory over the Super Eagles.

 


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