South Africa and Namibia go head to head on Friday in Group D of the AFCON with both sides still licking their wounds after a disappointing opening to their respective campaigns. Currently, Namibia sit in third spot following a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Morocco, whilst South Africa sit planted at the bottom of the table having been seen off by Ivory Coast, also by one goal to nil. South Africa had the better of the results in the previous two meetings involving the pair, but Namibia will be up for this one in the knowledge that only a victory will suffice.
South Africa have endured far more draws than they would have liked in the last year with five coming in their past eight outings in all competitions and friendlies. Each of their two friendlies leading up to the tournament ended as a stalemate against Paraguay, finishing 1-1, and more recently versus Ghana in a rather dull affair which saw neither side able to break the deadlock. The opening encounter of this summer’s AFCON did not go as planned whatsoever as South Africa put in a mightily disappointing performance which was not fully reflected on the scoreline, amassing only two shots in the entire game in spite of the fact they had more possession than Ivory Coast. With twenty-five minutes of playing time remaining, Jonathan Kodjia hit the back of the net to seal all three points for their rivals and put South Africa in a very difficult situation, leaving them in desperate need of a victory from this tie.
Namibia were enjoying some good displays and solid results until November, when Guinea-Bissau put an end to their two-game winning streak in a goalless draw. Succeeding that matchup was a terrible outing against Zambia which saw them thrashed by four goals to one, Peter Shalulile getting a consolation goal for his side in the final minute of the ninety. Even then, Zambia still went on to grab another through Lazarous Kambole to make it four. Thus, little was expected of Namibia in their game versus Morocco last week and although they were battered throughout, they actually held their own for the majority of the match by preventing their opponents from creating many clear cut opportunities. Eventually, however, that fateful moment arrived when Itamunua Keimuine netted an own goal to see his side come out second best on a day when really, a draw is the most they deserved. Now, Namibia are left needing maximum points against a strong South Africa side and that feat looks incredibly unlikely to take place.
South Africa have a fully fit squad available for selection going into this game and barring any late concerns, they should be coming out all guns blazing on Friday. The 4-3-3 they used against Ivory Coast may be abandoned due to the poor nature of the display on the day, although manager Stuart Baxter could attempt to make minor changes and line up in a similar fashion here. Lebo Mothiba is expected to lead the line, and Themba Zwane should also be one of an attacking trio while Sifiso Hlanti is likely to remain as first choice left back.
Namibia also have zero injury worries as they make their final preparations ahead of a crucial fixture. We cannot see them starting in a 4-4-2 again as that saw them pummelled by chance after chance against Morocco, and if they want to win here they’ll need to opt for a more adventurous approach. Absalom Limbondi was the better of the two forwards in the first game, so he will probably start again, and Denzil Haoseb should begin alongside Ryan Nyambe in the centre of defense.
With both teams finding it very tough to get goals in recent weeks and months, we can’t see them suddenly finding the magical scoring touch when they meet on Friday. South Africa have not scored more than one goal in five of their last six outings, while Namibia last scored at least two goals in October against Mozambique. For this reason, we are going for under 1.5 goals with Skybet at 13/8.This goes hand in hand with our other recommended bet, South Africa to win to nil at 6/4 with Skybet. We feel that South Africa will be too strong and the occasion too big for Namibia, along with the fact they have hit the net only once in their last three matches. Skybet also have South Africa to win 1-0 at 4/1, which are fantastic odds given that this outcome definitely appears the most likely of all, all things considered.