2023 AFCON: South Africa v DR Congo preview

2023 AFCON: South Africa v DR Congo preview
Ronwen Williams of South Africa celebrates with Hugo Broos, head coach of South Africa after the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinal match between Cape Verde and South Africa at Charles Konan Stadium in Yamoussoukro, Cote dIvoire on 3 February 2024 ©Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

by Thando Mpembe

Friday Feb 09, 2024. 16:22

Date: 10 February 2024

Kick-off: 22h00 CAT

In the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) play-offs for third place, South Africa and DR Congo will square off on Saturday at Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium.

At the tournament’s semi-final stage, both teams lost to Ivory Coast and Nigeria, respectively. Both countries are set for a thrilling competition to see who will win the bronze medal in this highly entertaining showpiece.

Head-to-head: In their last five meetings, South Africa and DR Congo have shared a 1-0 scoreline three times, with the exception of a 2-2 World Cup qualifier in 2005.

South Africa last three results: South Africa won their Round of 16 clash 2-0 against Morocco after finishing second in Group E. They then clinched their quarter-final against Cape Verde on penalties, winning 2-1 as Ronwen Williams made four historical saves in the shootout. They would unfortunately succumb to defeat against Nigeria 4-2 on penalties.

DR Congo last three results: DR Congo knocked out Egypt on penalties with an 8-7 scoreline. They then beat Guinea 3-1 in the quarter-finals of the competition. They fell at the semi-final hurdle against the hosts Ivory Coast, losing 1-0.

Team news: After matching Nigeria’s back three in the semifinal loss, South Africa’s head coach Hugo Broos is anticipated to switch back to a back four.

Siyanda Xulu is expected to remain at centre back in the lineup following Grant Kekana’s dismissal against Nigeria in extra time. 

Gael Kakuta made a comeback to the team against the Elephants, but he was only in the game for forty-five minutes before being replaced by Theo Bongonda, who is expected to start for the DRC against South Africa.

On Saturday, Desabre might request one more performance from his AFCON 2023 outfield members, who include Chancel Mbemba, Arthur Masuaku, Samuel Moutoussamy, and Gedeon Kalulu.

Key player – South Africa: Percy Tau will be a crucial member for Bafana Banana’s attack as he is known for his speed and being clinical in front of goal. The forward has not scored in open play for the entire tournament and will be expected to end with a bang.

 Key player – DR Congo’s playmaker Gael Kakuta will be expected back into the starting line-up, after suffering a knock and only having played 45 minutes in their semi-final against Ivory Coast.

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