Preview: South Africa vs DR Congo


Kelechi Iheanacho broke South African hearts as he scored the winning penalty that saw Nigeria book their place in the 2023 AFCON final, ahead of Bafana Bafana. Hugo Broos’ men will look to bounce back against DR Congo, with a podium finish on the line.

To win (90 min)
 South Africa 2/1   
 Draw 19/10
 DR Congo 5/4 


In what is dubbed the ‘African Cup of Upsets’, Bafana Bafana have certainly staked their claim for the surprise package of the tournament. At the outset, the squad selection would have made even the most arrogant of supporters weary. Opening day defeat to Mali would have compounded doubts, but Broos weathered the storm and his side could finish as high as third.

Themba Zwane bagged a brace in the first-half as South Africa thrashed Namibia 4 nil in their second fixture. The thirty-four year old was crowned the Player of the Match and followed that up with a second in their goalless draw against Tunisia. In the round of 16, Hugo Broos’ team scored late to seal a 2-0 win over Morocco, growing their impressive reputation against North African nations. Ronwen Williams stole the headlines in the quarters as he would go on to save four of Cape Verde’s five spot kicks after a goalless encounter.

Earlier this week, a 1-1 draw in 90 minutes against Nigeria was followed by a defeat on penalties to the Super Eagles. A tough pill to swallow considering South Africa should have won it in the six minutes of added time when Khuliso Mudau only succeeded in blazing over after Nwabali parried Mokoena’s free-kick into his path. What a different preview this could have been if only …

DR CONGO        

Prior to AFCON, DR Congo registered just a single win across their previous six fixtures. That victory was a 2 nil home win over Mauritania in their World Cup qualifier – hardly throwing down the gauntlet. Since arriving in Ivory Coast, they have seen defeat just once and stand proudly among the final four!

They progressed to the knockout stages after three draws in the Group stage. They began with a dominant 1-1 draw vs Zambia wherein they had twenty-five shots compared to the Chipolopolo’s three. A 1-1 draw against Morocco saw them hold their own before a cagey goalless stalemate against Tanzania.

Coach Sebastien Desabre could opt for a new look XI for this match.  somewhat for this match. Saint-Etienne’s Dylan Batubinsika is tipped for a start in the back four whilst Theo Bongonda may come into the lineup in the engine room. Gael Kakuta returned from injury to start against Cote d’Ivoire and registered a shot on target against The Elephants in his first half performance. He could prove the difference in what is going to be a game of fine margins.

PREDICTION: South Africa to take it !

These two nations meet in the AFCON third-place playoff. Bafana Bafana lost on penalties in the semi-final to Nigeria whilst The Leopards were defeated by hosts Ivory Coast. I think South Africa will wrap this up within normal time as neither camp will be playing for another extra-time stint or another penalty shootout.

Written by Desh Parthab