Soccer Betting News - SA's Leading Soccer Betting Newspaper: Sudan vs South Africa Preview

Sudan vs South Africa Preview

Mohamed Abdel Raman and Percy Tau will look to inspire their nations to victory

Bafana Bafana will face Sudan on Sunday evening at the Al-Hilal Stadium for the opportunity to throw their names into the draw as part of the final 24 teams to qualify for AFCON 2021 in Cameroon in what’s effectively become a straight knockout confrontation.

Four months ago, Sudan’s Mohamed Abdel Raman completely changed the complexion of Group C with his leaping header finding its way into the back of Ghana’s net in the 92nd minute, becoming the first player to score against the Black Stars during qualification.

The implications of that goal meant South Africa will now need to secure a minimum of a draw against group favourites Ghana and then beat Sudan to qualify, as Sudan is fully expected to inflict a fifth straight defeat over the whipping boys of the group Sao Tome and Principe prior to this clash.

Bafana Bafana could be at risk of disappointing the nation if the boys come away from the tie against Ghana emptyhanded. The ball will then be in Sudan’s court where the 127th-ranked nation will have the upper hand, needing just a draw on Sunday to break South African hearts.

CAF’s rules dictate that if drawn level on points after six group matches, points in head-to-head matches between the tied teams will initially be used to separate them, before goal difference and goals scored come into the equation, if need be.

*Please note that this article was written prior to these sides’ qualifying matches on 24-25 March for print purposes.

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AFCON Qualifier
Sunday 28 March
Al-Hilal Stadium
18:00

To Win
Sudan 2/1
Draw 18/10
South Africa 27/20

Sudan

The North African hosts have their sights set on qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time since the 2012 edition. The Sudanese camp will be high on confidence after claiming maximum points in a 1-0 win over Ghana and know that they’re within touching distance of achieving their goal.

Understandably confident as the valuable result was a repeat of their greatest achievement, winning the 1970 AFCON final, in which they also edged the Black Stars by the same scoreline and now possibly have opened up an avenue to pip South Africa for their spot.

Individually, following his strike against Ghana, 27-year-old forward Abdel Raman earned himself a move to his country’s premier club, Al Hilal Omdurman, making all five of his appearances for his new team in the CAF Champions League group stages against the likes of Mamelodi Sundowns, TP Mazembe and CR Belouizdad, scoring his first goal for the club against the latter.

However, the Secretary birds will have to be realistic, knowing they have an uphill task to accomplish as Raman and Al Hilal Omdurman failed to score against Masandawana with the likes of Mosa Lebusa and Rivaldo Coetzee who are fully expected to feature for coach Molefi Ntseki.

In the previous meeting at Orlando Stadium, Sudan was outclassed by Bafana Bafana who only afforded their opponents just one shot on target, while creating a multitude of opportunities for themselves.

South Africa

The Bafana Bafana squad has a somewhat unfamiliar look to it compared to the personnel that made goalkeeper Ali Abdalla Aboeshren break into a sweat in Johannesburg, taking 14 shots on his goal with eight of those being on target.

Percy Tau was absolutely irresistible, displaying his class against Sudan, creating countless goalscoring opportunities for his teammates, unfortunately just Lebogang Phiri was able to oblige and decided the encounter with a left-footed rocket into the roof of the net, winning the match 1-0.

Tau is South Africa’s crown jewel, who is able to turn a game on its head with his quick-thinking, instinctive vision and quality link-up play that makes the game seem very simple and easy on the eye.

South Africa can’t afford to slip up and this is definitely a must-win. In a recent interview, Tau stated that he’s confident with the players selected this time around, that Bafana Bafana are completely capable of winning both remaining qualifiers against Ghana and Sudan.

The nucleus of the team is expected to come from three-peat domestic league champions Mamelodi Sundowns who have been imperious in the DStv Premiership and the CAF Champions League. Masandawana old boy Tau will be a quality addition to the current crop of local-based players.

Kermit Erasmus and Bradley Grobler had the weight of the goalscoring burden to carry. Grobler has 13 league goals to his name from 19 games, while Erasmus has netted three times from nine appearances after seeing his playing time cut short due to niggling injuries that he could hopefully shake off in time.

Unfortunately, both strikers will not be available and were replaced by Thabiso Kutumela and Lebohang Maboe last Sunday. Other foreign-based players such as Keagan Dolly, Bongani Zungu, Thulani Serero and Dean Furman were not released by their respective clubs, heaping pressure on coach Molefi to deliver with an understrength squad.

Mothobi Mvala, Vincent Pule and Thabo Nodada were brought in to bolster Bafana Bafana’s hopes.

Goalkeepers: Ronwen Williams (SuperSport United), Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs) & Veli Mothwa (AmaZulu)

Defenders: Mosa Lebusa & Thapelo Morena (both Mamelodi Sundowns), Thulani Hlatshwayo & Innocent Maela (both Orlando Pirates), Craig Martin (Cape Town City), Sifiso Hlanti (Moroka Swallows), Thibang Phete (Belenenses/Portugal) & Siyanda Xulu (Hapoel Tel Aviv/Israel)

Midfielders: Themba Zwane, Rivaldo Coetzee, Mothobi Mvala & Andile Jali (all Mamelodi Sundowns), Ben Motshwari, Vincent Pule (Orlando Pirates), Sipho Mbule (SuperSport United), Thulani Serero (Al Jazira Club/UAE), Bongani Zungu (Rangers/Scotland), Luther Singh (Pacos Ferreira/Portugal), Keagan Dolly (Montpellier/France), Percy Tau (Brighton & Hove Albion/England) & Dean Furman (Carlisle United/England), Thabo Nodada (Cape Town City)

Forwards: Kermit Erasmus (Mamelodi Sundowns), Bradley Grobler (SuperSport United), Ruzaigh Gamildien (Moroka Swallows), Lebohang Maboe (Mamelodi Sundowns), Thabiso Kutumela (Maritzburg United) & Lyle Foster (Vitoria Guimaraes/Portugal)

Prediction: South Africa (27/20)
South Africa have much more quality within the ranks and desperately want to be on the plane travelling to the 2021 AFCON in Cameroon. As this is a must-win clash, I’m backing Ntseki’s players to convert their excellent form from their respective clubs into stellar performances in Bafana Bafana colours.

Written by Bryan Naicker