Fri. Apr 12th, 2024

As Bafana Bafana takes on Tunisia in the final group stage match of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) on Wednesday, South Africa hopes to recreate the magic of their iconic 1996 triumph when they clinched victory in their debut appearance. The encounter will unfold at the 20,000-seater Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium in Korhogo, Ivory Coast.

The 1996 AFCON final, marked by Madiba Magic, saw South Africa secure a 2-0 win, etching the moment in African football history. Facing the Carthage Eagles, both teams aim to progress to the knockout stage, with the dynamics of Group E suggesting that a draw for Bafana could be sufficient for advancement.

Tunisia, ranked 28th globally, is favored to win despite their lackluster performance in the tournament so far. With a single point from two matches, they need a victory to keep their last-16 hopes alive. Bafana Bafana, ranked 66th by FIFA, demonstrated improvement in their second match against Namibia, winning 3-0.

Key to South Africa’s recent success is attacking midfielder Themba Zwane, who, at 34 years and 171 days old, became the oldest player to score for South Africa at AFCON. Zwane’s two dazzling first-half goals against Namibia fueled Bafana’s resurgence, and he remains confident for the Tunisia showdown.

Former Bafana stalwart Bernard ‘Die Hond’ Parker, with 73 caps for South Africa, advocates for a similar tactical approach against Tunisia. Parker emphasizes maintaining a compact defense while utilizing speed on the counter-attack to guard against Tunisia’s offensive strategies.

As the Bafana Bafana-Tunisia match unfolds, the Mali-Namibia clash will simultaneously conclude the Group E matches. All teams seek a favorable outcome to secure their places in the AFCON knockout stage.

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