Phakaaathi’s Jonty Mark and Khaya Ndubane argue the toss here for who will win, and why.
Why Burkina Faso will win (Jonty Mark, Phakaaathi Editor)
As much as it pains me to say it, I believe Burkina Faso will beat Bafana Bafana today and finally put Stuart Baxter’s men out of their World Cup misery. Were it not for Fifa’s decision to order a replay of Bafana Bafana’s home 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifying “win” against Senegal, it would be Burkina Faso who would be the favourites to top Group D and reach a World Cup finals for the first time in their history. The Stallions are rightly furious at the timing of Fifa’s decision, coming as it did just after they had drawn twice with Senegal last month, to move, it seemed then, into pole position on the road to Russia. Portuguese coach Paulo Duarte has forged a formidable footballing outfit since his return as Stallions head coach in December 2015. Burkina Faso are unbeaten in 17 competitive matches since Duarte took over for a second spell in charge. They went all the way to the semi-finals of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, and were undefeated at the tournament, only going out to Egypt in the last four via a penalty shootout (under Fifa rules, a loss on penalties is still registered as a draw), and eventually beating Ghana to finish third. If Bafana came close to beating the Stallions in their opening 2018 World Cup qualifier in August 2016, meanwhile, it was only after the home side missed two penalties during the match. There is talent running right through this Burkinabe side, from Toulouse defender Steve Yago, to experienced midfielder Charles Kabore, to one of the top African attacking talents in the game, in Lyon’s Bertrand Traore. And I expect them to have too much for a Bafana side badly affected by injuries and by a loss of confidence following last month’s defeats to Cape Verde.
Prediction: South Africa 1 Burkina Faso 2
Why Bafana will win (Khaya Ndubane (Online Content Manager)
Following their disastrous back-to-back loses against lowly Cape Verde, Bafana Bafana are in desperate need of a morale-boosting win. The country supporters seem to have turned their backs on them as it needed some intervention from the likes of the EFF to at least make sure that supporters show up at the stadium today. Stuart Baxter’s men knows that they have a duty to bring smiles to those who were brave enough to come to the stadium today. They know that they owe it to the country to show us that all hope is not lost in the national team and that Bafana Bafana will rise again. Burkina Faso might be unbeaten in 17 competitive matches, but all things come to an end, even unbeaten records. The fact that Bafana came close to beating the Stallions at home in August last year shows that they can be beaten. Burkina Faso have been moaning about Fifa’s decision to order the replay of the Bafana vs Senegal match. I’m sure that would be on their minds when they enter the FNB Stadium today and that could be the distraction needed by Bafana to pounce on the Stallions. That’s why I predict a surprise win for Bafana today.
Prediction: South Africa 1 Burkina Faso 0