2023 AFCON: Cape Verde v South Africa preview

2023 AFCON: Cape Verde v South Africa preview
Themba Zwane of South Africa during the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations Finals match between South Africa and Tunisia at Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium in Korhogo on 24 January 2024 ©Mehrez Toujani/BackpagePix

by Thando Mpembe

Friday Feb 02, 2024. 13:00

The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations will continue with a Quarterfinal match between Cape Verde and South Africa at the Charles Konan Banny Stadium in Yamoussoukro.

Date: Saturday 3 February 2024

Kick-off: 22h00 CAT

Head-to-head: Cape Verde and South Africa have met in five matches dating back as far as 2004Both the Blue Sharks and Bafana Bafana have recorded two wins, while one game has been drawn. The teams’ most recent meeting was a World Cup qualifier in Durban in September 2017 which Cape Verde won 2-1 thanks to a brace from Garry Rodrigues.

Cape Verde’s last three results: Cape Verde have equalled their best-ever AFCON performance by reaching the final eight (they first did so on tournament debut in 2023), having defeated Mauritania 1-0 in a Round of 16 clash earlier this week thanks to a late penalty from Ryan Mendes. Prior to that, the Blue Sharks had topped Group B ahead of Egypt, Ghana and Mozambique.

South Africa’s last three results: South Africa pulled off the shock result of the Round of 16, defeating World Cup semifinalists Morocco 2-0 thanks to goals from Evidence Makgopa and Teboho Mokoena. Prior to that, Bafana Bafana came home second in Group E behind Mali, but ahead of Namibia and Tunisia.

Team news: Neither side has any suspensions nor reported injury worries. Cape Verde may opt to give striker Gilson Benchimol a starting berth given his influential showing to win a penalty in the Round of 16, with Bebe possibly dropping to the bench after an underwhelming showing against Mauritania. South Africa, meanwhile, are likely to stick to the same starting XI that defeated Morocco.

Key player, Cape Verde: Ryan Mendes not only scored the decisive goal in the Round of 16 against Mauritania, he also put in a tireless and dynamic attacking performance, giving Cape Verde a reliable and powerful outlet that will be essential against their Quarterfinal opponents.

Key player, South AfricaAfter criticism of his performances earlier in the tournament, striker Evidence Makgopa scored the first goal against Morocco and was an outstanding spearhead in attack – something he will hope to repeat against Cape Verde.

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