WCQ Preview: South Africa v Cape Verde

Erick Mathoho’s absence through suspension, and the possible return of Thulani Serero, are two talking points ahead of Bafana’s clash with Cape Verde in Durban on Tuesday night.

Mathoho was needlessly sent off in Friday’s 1-2 defeat away to the Cape Verde in Praia, while Serero was unable to take part in that game due to a hamstring injury, but has reportedly recovered sufficiently to feature at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Tuesday (19H00 kick off).

Friday’s result left Bafana Bafana on four points from three games in Group D of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, equal with Senegal, while Burkina Faso have five points and Cape Verde three.

So while the group remains wide open, securing a home victory against the Blue Sharks could prove crucial.

To claim the three points, Bafana will need to show greater purpose and intensity than that which was on display in Praia.

“We went into back-foot mode, not taking responsibility on the ball, losing the ball to easily, and it was a little bit of rabbit in the headlights,” said head coach Stuart Baxter.

“I think the importance of the game affected a few of the players, they didn’t reach their normal standard. I said to ‘Tyson’ [captain Thulani Hlatshwayo] that now we can find excuses or reasons and this is one of the reasons: we didn’t show that focus, composure, call it what you want.”

Bafana will need to keep playmaker Ryan Mendes in check after he created numerous problems in the first game, while striker Nuno Rocha netted both goals and is another danger-man.

Group D’s other two sides, Burkina Faso and Senegal, meet in Ouagadougou on the same day, having played to a 0-0 draw last Saturday.

South Africa’s final two matches will be at home against Burkina Faso and away to Senegal.