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Bafana can improve mediocre Afcon home record against Seychelles

Independent Online (IOL) logo Independent Online (IOL) 2018-10-12 Minenhle Mkhize
Kamohelo Mokotjo holding a basketball: Bafana Bafana players applaud the crowd after their draw against Libya at Moses Mabhida Stadium. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix © Provided by Independent Media Bafana Bafana players applaud the crowd after their draw against Libya at Moses Mabhida Stadium. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

DURBAN - Bafana Bafana have endured turbulent times recently at home in Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers and they will be looking to turn things around against Seychelles at FNB Stadium tomorrow at 3pm.

Bafana are winless at home in four Afcon qualifiers. Bafana also failed to win at home in the qualifiers for Afcon 2017, sharing the spoils in all of their three matches against Gambia, Cameroon and Mauritania at home. As a result they couldn’t book a ticket to Gabon in 2017 as they finished third in the group.

Bafana are currently tied with Libya on four points after two matches in these qualifiers. They got off to a flying starting by dispatching Nigeria 2-0 away from home and then they were held at home by Libya last month at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban. Their last victory at home in Afcon qualifiers came against Sudan at Moses Mabhida.

Bafana eased past Sudan 2-1 to officially book their place at the 2015 continental showpiece that was held in Equatorial Guinea. Even in that qualification process, Bafana struggled at home as they only managed to win one game. They played out stalemates against Nigeria and Congo Brazaville as hosts.

It was away from home where they were in red hot form as they earned victories against Congo, Sudan and drew with Nigeria. The Seychelles though are the whipping boys of the group. They are yet to open their account in two outings. Libya dismantled them 5-1 in their opening fixture while the Super Eagles thumped the Islanders 3-0 on their own turf.

It is not just that the Seychelles have been poor in this campaign. They generally struggle as evidenced by their being without a win in their past 17 matches. With that kind of record considered, surely there’s no better chance for Bafana to improve their unimpressive home record than tomorrow's clash.

Bafana coach, Stuart Baxter, has also struggled in his second spell in charge, especially in qualification matches. He took over in the middle of the World Cup qualifiers last year and boasts a pathetic one win, success in the Afcon qualifiers against Burkina Faso at the FNB Stadium, in five matches.

With those back-to-back defeats to minnows Cape Verde still fresh in the memory, Baxter and his team just cannot afford to fall to the Seychelles. The Briton also succumbed to two defeats against Senegal. With four points from the first two qualifiers, victory tomorrow will not only help Baxter improve his record in qualifiers, it will set Bafana en route to Cameroon 2019.

The Star

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