Henri Saivet of Senegal (c) celebrates goal during the 2017 African Cup of Nations Finals Afcon football match between Senegal and Zimbabwe at the Franceville Stadium in Gabon on 19 January 2017 ©Gavin Barker/BackpagePix
Thursday Oct 05, 2017. 13:00
AfricanFootball takes a closer look at who needs what to secure qualification for the 2018 World Cup ahead of this weekend’s round of matches. Today we focus on Group D: Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Senegal and South Africa.
Where and when are the games?
Saturday 7 October
South Africa v Burkina Faso - FNB Stadium, Johannesburg - 15h00 CAT
Cape Verde v Senegal - Estadio Nacional de Cabo Verde, Praia - 19h30 CAT
Who needs what to qualify?
Given that FIFA annulled South Africa’s 2-1 win over Senegal from last year and this group is therefore effectively one result short of where it should be, nobody can secure qualification this weekend.
However, a win for group leaders Burkina Faso over hosts South Africa would not only take the Stallions to within touching distance of Russia 2018, it would mathematically eliminate Bafana Bafana.
What’s likely to happen?
Hard to tell. South Africa can surely only improve from their dreadful performances last month when they were beaten in back-to-back games by Cape Verde, but Burkina Faso are unbeaten thus far and determined to go to the World Cup for the first time in their history - perhaps a draw would be the thinking man’s pick for the game in Johannesburg.
As for the Cape Verde v Senegal game in Praia, we’d go with the Teranga Lions to come away with all three points. They’ve had new life breathed into their campaign by both the decision to have the game against Bafana replayed and the combination of group results in September.
If Senegal can head to November knowing that back-to-back wins over an eliminated South Africa will secure a place in Russia 2018, then that will be the perfect scenario for coach Aliou Cisse - a veteran of the country’s famous World Cup debut in 2002.