Bafana eager to create history … as they face hosts Egypt today

BAFANA Bafana intend to create one of the biggest sporting achievements of the year by overcoming Egypt in their backyard today at the Cairo International Stadium and progress to the next stage of this seesaw AFCON tournament.

South Africa were paired against the hosts on Tuesday after finishing as one of the four best third-placed teams in the tournament.

And despite talk that the home team are runaway favourites in today’s potentially epic encounter, Bafana Bafana will look back at history with lots of pride. On a number of occasions when they have met the Pharaohs, South Africa have enjoyed a lion’s share of the spoils.

Stuart Baxter’s side will look back at history for some inspiration and belief that the hosts are beatable, even in their backyard.

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Bafana resumed serious training on Wednesday, July 3, where coach Baxter hinted he might beef up in some areas which have not been functioning at 100 per cent in the tournament so far.

Looking far more relaxed, Baxter said if the team gets its tactics right, they have the potential to give the Egyptians a good run for their money today.

While Egypt will rely on the vociferous home crowd support to spur them on, the same crowd can also put pressure on the home team if things do not go the way they would like.

It is the weight of the expectations that Baxter can take advantage of, with critics arguing that if Bafana Bafana can hold on in the opening minutes of the game, the massive crowd can actually put lots of pressure on the home team; something the visitors can exploit.

Today’s match is set to be the biggest encounter of the tournament so far as both teams are popular in this AFCON tournament.

While more than 98 per cent of the support will be rooting for the Pharaohs, Bafana Bafana is one of the most loved sides in this tournament and neutrals will be vying for them.

South Africa v Egypt (head to head since re-admission)

South Africa 2-0 Egypt (24 November 1995)

South Africa 0-1 Egypt (24 January 1996)

South Africa 0-2 Egypt (28 February 1998)

South Africa 2-1 Egypt (16 December 1998)

South Africa 1-0 Egypt (10 November 2001)

Egypt 2-1 South Africa (15 November 2003)

Egypt 1-2 South Africa (14 January 2006)

South Africa 1-0 Egypt (26 March 2011)

South Africa 1-0 Egypt (6 September 2016) –

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