Egypt will face South Africa on Saturday in the African Cup of Nation round of 16 at Cairo International Stadium. The match will decide who among the two giants will proceed to the quarterfinals. The two teams have a long history in the competition and fans will be waiting to witness another thrilling moment in the tournament.
Bafana Bafana qualified for the round of 16 as one of the four best third-placed teams in the tournament while the Pharaohs finished first in group A after winning all their group stage matches.
According to AFCON new format, group A winner is set to meet the best third-placed team in group C, D or E. Baxter’s boys (third-placed in group D) finished top of Kenya (3rd placed in group C) and Angola (3rd placed in group E).
Despite the talk that the hosts are overwhelming favourites in the contest, South Africa will look back at history with lots of joy. The 1996 AFCON winners enjoy a healthy record against Egypt since their re-admission in 1992.
Before re-admission, South Africa suffered 16 years of being banned from FIFA, and 40 years of effective suspension due to the apartheid system.
Their head coach Stuart Baxter believes that his team is in a better position to emerge victorious. He hinted at beefing up particular areas in the squad that have so far not performed well in the competition.
The Pharaohs will bank on the crowd support, their good form and their mainstay Mohammed Salah to break Bafana Bafana’s dominance.
All eyes will be on the epic encounter between the two teams and whether South Africa will stun the hosts before their fans and thwart their dream of lifting the elite title for the eighth time.