South Africa v Namibia: Vilakazi expects Bafana Bafana response
South Africa lost their Africa Cup of Nations opener to Ivory Coast and forward Sibusiso Vilakazi knows they must improve for a crucial clash with Namibia.
Bafana Bafana were outplayed despite the narrow nature of their 1-0 defeat to a Jonathan Kodjia goal, leaving the side pointless as they take on opponents who themselves were beaten 1-0 by Morocco.
And Vilakazi acknowledged South Africa have already reached "must-win" status at such an early stage of this year's tournament.
"With Namibia now, we need to get a response in terms of winning," the Mamelodi Sundowns attacker told TimesLIVE. "We have to win at all costs.
"We got to this AFCON and it's a must-win [game] for us - it doesn't matter how. This is a point where we need to react, we need to win games.
"We find ourselves in a very challenging situation but we have to respond to it."
All here in Egypt to rally behind Bafana Bafana pic.twitter.com/Oe2GSnhlyo— Bafana Bafana (@BafanaBafana) June 25, 2019
Meanwhile, Namibia had positives to take from their own reverse and coach Ricardo Mannetti is buoyed ahead of meeting South Africa on Friday.
"We come into the match with positives from the Morocco game and we need to compete and get the result we want," he told a news conference.
"It's not about the next round but the first win for the country and then anything can happen.
"The players are very close and some have met so many times before and so that will be interesting.
"This is our moment to enjoy and make memories and we grab this chance to play against the best on the continent. This is our World Cup."
PLAYERS TO WATCH
South Africa - Ronwen Williams
Goalkeeper Williams was a slightly surprising choice to start against Ivory Coast, yet he was South Africa's standout performer as they gave their esteemed opponents a scare. Outstanding stops denied Kodjia and Nicolas Pepe and he will be targeting a clean sheet against Namibia.
Namibia - Lloyd Kazapua
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Namibia's star man last time out was also their goalkeeper. Kazapua was unfortunate to see substitute Itamunua Keimuine head into his own net but will have to be at his best again to keep Bafana Bafana at bay.
KEY OPTA FACTS
- South Africa have won their only previous encounter against Namibia in the Africa Cup of Nations, back in February 1998 (4-1).
- Former South Africa striker Benni McCarthy grabbed all four goals during that previous tournament meeting. He is also the last player to score four in a single AFCON game.
- South Africa have won only once in their past 15 group stage games at the Africa Cup of Nations (D6 L8). That solitary success was in January 2013, against Angola (2-0), when Bafana Bafana hosted the tournament.
- Namibia are winless in their seven games played at the Africa Cup of Nations (D2 L5), failing to keep a clean sheet in any of these seven encounters (19 goals conceded).
- Three of South Africa's past six goals at the Africa Cup of Nations have been scored from outside the box.