In one of her hit songs, the late Brenda Fassie said that “Indaba yam istraight, ayifuni iruler”.
This is true for Bafana Bafana going into tonight’s qualifier against Ghana for next year’s Qatar World Cup.
For once, we don’t need to crack our heads trying to figure out what should be done, because the situation is crystal clear.
As South Africans we are so used to turning to our calculators to work out the odds when Bafana are involved. Some supporters were already thinking of dusting off their calculators to go through the pain of permutations.
But who can blame them after that infamous dance of shame 10 years ago at the Mbombela stadium in Mpumalanga? We have learnt from our mistakes and we want to make sure of where we stand.
Fortunately, this time around, we know what we need to do to qualify for the final round of the qualifiers.
The permutations are clear: win or draw Bafana are through. We lose and we are out. Finish and klaar! It’s as simple as that.
Istraight le indaba.
There is no need to even go to the goal difference. A win for Ghana will see them overtaking us at the top of the log as group winners.
If this were to happen, this would be a hard pill to swallow.
After such a brilliant run in the qualifiers so far, bowing out at the final hurdle would be a great injustice to the team and the country. Bafana have done well so far – winning four of their five games – and only conceding one goal in the process.
However, their weak point has been in front of goals where they have lacked the much-needed killer instinct. And this might come back to haunt them, as the group winners might be decided by a goal difference.
Our fate is in our own hands. This is the same for Ghana, who have everything to play for tonight.
Pressure will be on the home side to upstage Bafana when the two nations go head-to-head in the decider tonight in the Cape Coast in Ghana.
When the draw was made, the Black Stars were seen as the run-away favourites to win the group and they were expected to win it convincingly.
But things have not gone their way so far, when a loss to Bafana and a draw against Ethiopia on Thursday derailed their plans.
To be honest, the Black Stars are there for the taking.
Just like Bafana, Ghana seem to be in a rebuilding phase, although the west Africans still have a few veterans – the likes of the Ayew brothers, André and Jordan.
The Black Stars have always had the better of Bafana and are the reason the South Africans are not going to next year’s Afcon in Cameroon, as Ghana convincingly won the qualifying group.
The same Ghana could still spoil the party tonight, unless Bafana come out with all guns blazing.
However, the Black Stars have shown that they are vulnerable when playing against attacking teams and this is where Bafana must capitalise.
Bafana would do well not to play for a draw but go for an outright victory.
No teams go into a game aiming for a draw – even when they know a draw would suffice. So, Bafana’s approach tonight should be the same as in previous games.
After all, we are told that the best form of defence is attack.
To borrow a phrase from renowned former PSL coach Viktor Bondarenko’s book: “Bafana must attack, attack, attack!”
Strange things happen in football and the last thing we want to talk about tomorrow is yet another national team disaster.
Bafana have given us hope and belief that they can go all the way – they just can’t give up now, for they have come too far from where they started from to leave us.
In Bafana I believe and I hope they won’t disappoint us – again.
- Follow me on Twitter @TimSpiritMolobi