Angola vs South Africa Preview

2018 World Cup Qualifier | Friday 13 November | Estadio Nacional de Ombaka | 16:30

Shakes Mashaba's Bafana Bafana have been pitted against Angola in the second round of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers Bafana will travel to Angola in the first leg, before hosting 'Sable Antelopes' in the return leg. The 20 winning teams from the second round of the qualifiers will be splitted into five groups, with the eventual winners from each group qualifying for the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia.   

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To Win (90mins)
Angola 1/1
Draw 23/10
South Africa 11/4


Angola will face Bafana Bafana for the third time in the space of five weeks. Palancas Negras qualified for the 2016 Chan tournament despite losing 2-1 to South Africa at the Luanda Stadium last time out, as the former emerged 3-2 winners on aggregate. South Africa were looking to grab a victory over Angola, who were leading 2-0 on aggregate following their win in the first leg, could only manage a 2-1 win. However, both sides only fielded home grown players, meaning players abroad were ineligible. 

Prior to the defeat suffered by South Africa, manager Romeu Filemon’s Angola were on an unbeaten run of four matches, including a 4-2 aggregate victory over Swaziland in the 2016 Chan qualifiers, drawing 2-2 away before ousting their opponents 2-0 at home. They are also undefeated in the AFCON Qualifiers after two matches, scoring four goals without conceding. Angola started those qualifiers with a 4-0 home win over Central African Republic before playing to a disappointing goalless draw at Madagascar. However, they will now turn their attention to qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, and their first obstacle will be to defeat South Africa in another two leg encounter. 

Angola‘s most dangerous player is without a doubt, former Manchester United forward Manucho Dias. He is tall and agile, but still has the pace to run in behind opposing defenders. Angola will look to him to get the ball rolling; he is their go-to-man and Bafana’s man to keep a close eye on. 

Angola Squad

Goalkeepers: Jotabe (Interclube) and Mario (Kabuscorp).

Defenders: Jonathan Buatu (Waasland Beveren), Gomito (Benfica de Luanda), Kussunga (FC Sion), Fabricio (Interclube), Silva (Kabuscorp), Natael (Libolo), Bastos (FC Rostov).

Midfielders: Joaquim Adao (FC Sion), Clinton da Mata (Sporting Charleroi), Miguel (Benfica de Luanda), Isaac Dominic (Primeiro de Agosto), Dario (Libolo), Manucho Dias Rayo Vallecano, Moco (Interclube), Ary Papel (Primeiro de Agosto), Gerson (Primeiro de Agosto), Bua (Primeiro de Agosto).

Forwards: Freddy (Primeiro de Agosto, Mateus Galiano, (Primeiro de Agosto), Dolimenga (Tondela FC), Djalma Campos (Genderbirlingi SK).

South Africa

Prior to the 3-2 aggregate defeat against Angola, South Africa were on a three match unbeaten run. Bafana first edged Senegal 1-0 on home soil in the Nelson Mandela challenge, before their tour of Central America, where they earned a 1-0 victory over Costa Rica and then drew 1-1 at Honduras.  Playing away from home in the first leg could benefit coach Mashaba’s team, who are known to play quick counter-attacking football. 

Bafana also like to have a lot of the ball, so it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if they dominate possession. However, possession football only takes you so far, South Africa will need to be lethal in front of goal and make sure with every opportunity that comes their way. Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper, Brilliant Khuzwayo, has been called up to the Bafana Bafana squad to replace the injured Itumeleng Khune. Khune has been ruled out for both legs against Angola after injuring his knee in training, an injury that will require surgery for the 28-year-old. Andile Jali and Dean Furman will be tasked at dominating the middle of the park. Jali will keep the ball rolling with his inch perfect passing, while Furman breaks down play, turning defence into attack. 

Thulani Serero is Bafana’s most creative and effective player. The Ajax playmaker has the vision and skill to take his team forward with his silky touches and quick feet. He will be looking to unleash Thamsanqa Gabuza and Sibusiso Vilakazi, who are likely to spearhead the focal point of attack. Gabuza has been in top form for Orlando Pirates, and was even nominated for CAF's Africa-based Player of the Year award after his impressive efforts in the CAF Confederations cup, assisting Pirates to the final of the competition. 

South Africa Squad

Goalkeepers: Wayne Sandilands (Mamelodi Sundowns), Jackson Mabokgwane (Black Aces), Ronwen Williams (SuperSport United). 

Defenders: Siya Nhlapo (Bidvest Wits), Lehlohonolo Nonyane (Black Aces), Anele Ngcongca (Troyes), Thabo Matlaba (Orlando Pirates), Clayton Daniels (SuperSport United), Erick Mathoho (Kaizer Chiefs), Rivaldo Coetzee (Ajax CT), Thulani Hlatshwayo (Bidvest Wits).  

Midfielders: Andile Jali (Oostende), Kamohelo Mokotjo (Twente), Phumlani Ntshangase (Bidvest Wits), Bongani Zungu (Mamelodi Sundowns), George Lebese (Kaizer Chiefs), Dean Furman (SuperSport United), Mpho Makola (Orlando Pirates), Mandla Masango (Randers), Themba Zwane (Mamelodi Sundowns), Thulani Serero (Ajax Amsterdam).

Strikers: Thamsanqa Gabuza (Orlando Pirates), Sibusiso Vilakazi (Bidvest Wits), Tokelo Rantie (Bournemouth), Dino Ndlovu (Anorthosis). 

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Betting Verdict: South Africa 11/4
In 10 meetings since 1996, Bafana Bafana have only lost once to Angola – in the Chan qualifiers - with three matches drawn and winning the rest. Stats remain stats but they give you confidence going into a match, though it’s not a guarantee that you can repeat that. Angola is ranked 97th in the world and 26th on the continent, compared to South Africa 73rd and 17th respectively. Back South Africa to come away with the all important victory. 

Written by Aaron Crowie for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!