Bafana have just one defeat against teams from the Indian Ocean
Bafana Bafana will be meeting Seychelles for just the second time when they clash in an African Nations Cup qualifier at FNB Stadium on Saturday‚ but they have an enviable record when facing island nations from the Southern African region.
Bafana were handsome 3-0 winners in their only previous meeting with Seychelles‚ a Cosafa Cup clash in neutral Mauritius in 2005 during coach Stuart Baxter’s first spell in charge.
Baxter chose an experimental side on that occasion‚ handing debuts to Lucas Thwala‚ Robyn Johannes‚ Rudi Isaacs‚ Cyril Zuma‚ Siyabonga Siphika‚ Rowen Hendricks‚ Lerato Chabangu and Katlego Mphela in a side that was captained by Mbulelo Mabizela.
Mphela netted a brace within 16 minutes to get his international career off to an excellent start and Baxter will hope for a similar beginning on Saturday to ease the nerves of his team.
Chabangu added a third just before half time‚ but Bafana were unable to add to their score in the second period during what was a most comfortable of victories.
In all Bafana have met the island nations in Southern Africa – Seychelles‚ Mauritius and Madagascar – on 20 occasions‚ with just a single defeat.
That loss had come in the Cosafa Cup the year before their Seychelles clash when Mauritius claimed a 2-0 victory Curepipe as Bafana fielded a much more experienced side ahead of the African Nations Cup finals in Tunisia in 2004.
Shakes Mashaba had just been fired and it was a first game in charge for stand-in coach Styles Phumo. But despite fielding the likes of Jacob Lekgetho‚ Benson Mhlongo‚ MacBeth Sibaya‚ Delron Buckley‚ John Moshoeu‚ Stanton Fredericks‚ Sibusiso Zuma and Jabu Pule (later Mahlangu)‚ Bafana were beaten.
It shows that the islanders have the ability to surprise‚ as was the case when Bafana played Madagascar at the Cosafa Cup in Polokwane just this year.
That match ended in a 0-0 draw and a second-string Bafana lost on penalties‚ though they had more than enough chances during the game to secure the win.
Aside from that one loss‚ their 20 previous games against Southern African island nations have resulted in 14 wins and five draws‚ with 30 goals scored and just five conceded‚ all against Mauritius.