Strong Portuguese flavour as Bafana battle Angola again
SA has a surprisingly dominant record against them
Angola will present very familiar foes when Bafana Bafana tackle Palancas Negras in their four nations tournament semifinal in Ndola, Zambia, on Thursday.
The two nations have clashed on six occasions since June 2015, comfortably Bafana’s most frequent opponent in that time, and South Africa will be seeking to continue what has been, in many ways, a surprisingly dominant record against their fellow Cosafa side.
Angola have always been a difficult opponent, their Portuguese influence evident as they mix powerful physical attributes with skill and an attacking outlook on the game.
Outside of Bafana, they are the only other Southern African side to play at the Fifa World Cup having qualified for Germany 2006, and they have produced many players for the leagues of Europe such as Manucho, Akwá, and Gilberto.But despite this obvious ability and talent, South Africa have largely held sway in fixtures between the two sides, losing just once in their previous 13 meetings. That includes an impressive eight victories and four draws, a record only bettered by the nine wins each they have managed against Mauritius and Botswana.
Not included in that record was a 2-0 victory for a South African President’s XI in the 2009 Cosafa Cup played in Zimbabwe, a game that is not recognised on the official list of matches but saw Lennox Bacela and Oupa Manyisa on target.
Angola also have a mention in South Africa’s greatest triumph, lifting the 1996 African Nations Cup on home soil.
It was in their second Group A meeting that the teams met for the first time and Mark Williams’s winner sealed Bafana’s passage into the knockout stages and on to become African champions for what remains the only time.The sides also met two years later in the next Nations Cup finals, this time in Burkina Faso, and the sides played to a 0-0 draw in the opening game for both teams.
Later that year the teams clashed in the next set of Nations Cup qualifiers as a late Shaun Bartlett goal saw Bafana to a 1-0 victory in Soweto, before Bafana let a two-goal lead in the reverse fixture slip to draw 2-2.
Helman Mkhalele and Daniel Mudau set them on the course for victory early in the second half, but two goals in four minutes from Zico and Jabaru saw the Angolans grab a point.
The sides faced off in a friendly for the first time in 2002 in the buildup to that year’s Nations Cup, with Benni McCarthy scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win for Bafana at the Mmabatho Stadium.It would be another six years before they clashed again in the 2008 Nations Cup finals in Ghana. Manucho looked as though he would guide Angola to a win, but Elrio van Heerden equalised with a stunner two minutes from time to earn a point for Bafana.
South Africa were more comfortable on home soil and eased to a 2-0 victory in the Nations Cup group stages as they hosted the tournament in 2013.
Siyabonga Sangweni and Lehlohonolo Majoro scored the goals, though the Angolans did provide some nervy moments.
And then began a rush of fixtures between the two teams, both in friendly matches and competitive qualifiers.
Thamsanqa Gabuza and Ayanda Patosi were on target in a 2-1 friendly win in Cape Town in 2015, before Angola picked up their first victory against Bafana. It must be stated that South Africa fielded what must be considered a C team in the African Nations Championship qualifiers and lost the first leg 2-0 at the Rand Stadium.They got revenge in Luanda in the return fixture with a 2-1 win, a Fabricio own goal and Lyle Lakay on target, but the tie was lost on aggregate.
Just the following month the full-strength Bafana side tackled Angola again, this time in the qualifiers for the World Cup and it was a different story altogether. Bafana won 3-1 in the first leg in Luanda as Tokelo Rantie, Gabuza and Andile Jali (penalty) found the back of the net. They also claimed success in the second leg at home, profiting from a Diniz own goal for a 1-0 win.
Their last meeting was another friendly, this time in East London 12 months ago that finished in a 0-0 draw, the last match in charge for caretaker coach Owen da Gama before he handed the reins to Stuart Baxter.
Whatever happens on Thursday, Bafana will face one of Zambia or Zimbabwe in either the four nations final or third-place playoff on Sunday.