History Favours Leone Stars Against Bafana Bafana of South Africa
History favours Sierra Leone against Bafana Bafana as the two nations lock horns in a friendly tie at FNB Stadium tomorrow (3pm).
Let alone winning, Bafana have never scored against Sierra Leone in their past four meetings. SA and Sierra Leone met for the first time in an Afcon qualifier in June 2008 in Freetown, where then greenhorn right-back Brice Moon conceded a penalty that would eventually condemn Mzansi to a 1-0 defeat.
The second battle between these two countries was in the following week in June 2008 in the second leg of the same Afcon qualifier at Lucas Moripe Stadium, known as Atteridgeville Super Stadium at the time. There, the game ended in a goalless draw as Joel Santana’s Bafana squandered numerous goal-scoring opportunities.
The most memorable, or rather infamous, clash between SA and Sierra Stars was in 2011 under Pitso Mosimane in the 2012 Afcon qualifiers. The second leg ended goalless at Mbombela Stadium and Bafana players celebrated insanely, thinking they had qualified for the Afcon finals, only to be later disappointed by head-to-head rules that favoured Niger instead. The first leg of that clash had finished in a 0-0 stalemate in Freetown the previous weekend.
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The current Sierra Leone squad is mainly made of young players who are playing in lower divisions in Europe. Among such promising talent in the Leone Stars’ team to face Bafana are Tottenham Hotspur’s 20-year-old right-back Kallum Xzeiba Tracey Cesay and Kamil Conteh, who is a 19-year-old central midfielder on the books of English Championship outfit Middlesbrough.
Sierra Leone are ranked 113th by Fifa, 45 places behind Bafana, who’re 13th on the continent. Leone Stars are ranked 24th by CAF.