Bafana will look to return to winning ways following their recent woes when they take on Palancas Negras on Wednesday afternoon
The tournament which also involves South Africa’s neighbours Zimbabwe and Zambia, will allow the Southern African nations to test themselves against one another after recently missing out on the 2018 Fifa World Cup.
For Bafana Bafana, the match is likely to see head coach Stuart Baxter back in the spotlight following what has been a tough past few months in the job.
After missing out on qualification for yet another World Cup, much has been said about the 64-year-old’s capabilities to lead the national team.
However, Baxter will be hoping to prove himself against Palancas Negras in a fixture which has been moved forward by a day, which certainly hampers the national team’s progress.
Bafana do boast an impressive record against the Angolans, only losing once in nine previous encounters; the defeat which dates back to 2015 African Nations Championship qualifier.
Nonetheless, Bafana are expected to be an entirely different beast this time around.
Baxter has opted for a squad with a unique blend of youth and experience as he looks to the future. Players such as Phakamani Mahlambi, Reeve Frosler, Ryan Moon and Siphesihle Ndlovu have all made the trip to Zambia, but it remains to be seen just how they will be utilised by the British-born tactician.
The burden of goals though is likely to once again fall on Mamelodi Sundowns talisman Percy Tau’s shoulders. The 23-year-old has already bagged nine goals this season in the league, and his pace and creativity could prove too much to handle for Angola’s defence to handle.
Baxter may also opt to give Tau’s partners in crime, Sibusiso Vilakazi and Themba Zwane a show. The trio were all on the scoresheet the last time Bafana recorded victory in 2017 against Burkina Faso, and their creativity as well as experience could come in handy.
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The clash will also be a test for Bafana as their opponents are certainly no slouches despite their 141st Fifa World Ranking. Angola currently have a squad filled with talent, and all eyes will be on the likes of Bastos, who is arguably the country’s most high-profile player as he plays in Italy with Lazio as well as Ary Papel, who is currently on the books of Sporting Lisbon.
Angola will also be buoyed by the fact that recently a side filled with home grown local talent went all the way to the quarterfinals of the 2018 Chan competition where they lost to eventual finalists Nigeria.
Many of those players are likely to form part of coach Srdjan Vasiljevic’s plans, which could make for an interesting affair at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium.