South Africa v Burkina Faso

Absentees in the Bafana Bafana defence mean that Motjeka Madisha and Robyn Johannes will be eyeing a starting spot in Saturday’s World Cup qualifier against Burkina Faso.

Regular central defensive pairing Erick Mathoho (suspended) and captain Thulani Hlatshwayo (injured) are both out and this has opened the door for Sundowns’ Madisha and Cape Town City’s Robyn Johannes, who will compete with veterans Morgan Gould and Clayton Daniels for a starting berth.

But other than that, South Africa have a full strength and exciting-looking side, comprised of both domestic and European-based players for the Group D encounter at the FNB Stadium (3pm kick off).

Up front coach Stuart Baxter certainly has good options at his disposal, including the likes of Phakamani Mahlambi, Percy Tau, Lebogang Manyama, Bongani Zungu, Keagan Dolly, Thulani Serero, new call-up Lebo Mothiba, and the recalled Dino Ndlovu, amongst several others.

Bafana goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune says it’s time the national team players deliver on their potential: “With the crop of players we have now, we are very talented but we don’t realise it. We always want to be reminded. So it’s about time we all realise how talented we are and we need to move the country forward,” he said.

Bottom of the group with only one point from three matches (after the win over Senegal was annulled by FIFA), Bafana have little choice but to win this one if they are to keep alive what are already very slim hopes of qualification.

However, Burkina Faso have their own ambitions of qualifying for a first ever World Cup and they lead the table with six points from four games, above Cape Verde only on goal difference. Senegal, on five points, have played a game less.

The corresponding match in Ouagadougou at the start of the qualifiers between Burkina Faso and South Africa ended in a 1-1 draw.