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Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying | Group Stage
Jun 17, 2023 at 4pm UK
FNB Stadium
MN

South Africa
2 - 1
Morocco

Munir (5' og.), Lepasa (48')
Tau (10'), Mayambela (90+4')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Ziyech (60')

Preview: South Africa vs. Morocco - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: South Africa vs. Morocco - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying clash between South Africa and Morocco, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

South Africa and Morocco return to action in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers when they go head to head at FNB Stadium on Saturday.

The visitors wrapped up their friendly matches with a draw against Cape Verde on Monday and will look to mark their return to competitive football on a high.


Match preview

After failing to qualify for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, South Africa appointed Belgian tactician Hugo Broos in a bid to return to the continental showpiece and qualify for the 2022 World Cup.

Despite losing just one game in the playoffs qualifiers, the Bafana Bafana saw their quest for a place in Qatar cut short as they finished second behind Group G winners Ghana on goal difference.

South Africa have also endured a slow start to the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, but a 2-1 victory against Liberia last time out has rekindled hopes of a first appearance at the continental tournament since 2019.

Following a 2-1 defeat to Morocco in last year's Group K curtain-raiser, the 1996 AFCON champions were left spitting feathers in their second group outing when they bottle a two-goal lead to settle for a 2-2 draw with Liberia on March 24.

However, goals in either half from Zakhele Lepasa and Mihlali Mayambela helped South Africa edge out Liberia 2-1 in the second of their group double-header four days later and get their campaign back on track.

Broos's men head into the weekend unbeaten in their last six matches across all competitions, claiming four wins and two draws since a 2-1 defeat against Morocco in last June's reverse fixture.

While they will look to maintain this fine run and edge closer to an 11th AFCON appearance, they have failed to win any of their last six games against Saturday's visitors, losing three and picking up three draws since a 3-1 victory in January 2002.

As for Morocco, they wrapped up their preparations ahead of this weekend's qualifying clash with a somewhat disappointing goalless draw with Cape Verde on Tuesday.

Despite fielding stars like Achraf Hakimi, Sofyan Amrabat and Hakim Ziyech, they failed to break down Bubista's men, who will be proud of their resolute display at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium.

This was a second consecutive draw for the Atlas Lions, who enjoyed a record-breaking run to the World Cup semi-finals last year, following a goalless draw with Peru on March 25.

After a year-long break, Morocco now return to action in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, where they are one of just three sides with a 100% record so far, alongside Algeria and Senegal.

Walid Regragui's men kicked off their quest for a place in Ivory Coast with a 2-1 home victory over South Africa last June, four days before edging out Liberia 2-0 at the Stade Mohammed V.

Morocco are one of six sides to have secured qualification to the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations as they sit top of Group K, two points above Saturday's hosts, albeit with one game in hand.

South Africa Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying form:


South Africa form (all competitions):


Morocco Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying form:


Morocco form (all competitions):


Team News

Broos has called up a 23-man squad for this weekend's clash, including the Orlando Pirates trio of Innocent Maela, Nkosinathi Sibisi and forward Monnapula Saleng.

Percy Tau, who recently lifted the CAF Champions League title with Al Ahly, should lead the attack this weekend, alongside Lepasa and Aris Limassol forward Mayambela.

At the defensive end of the pitch, Maela, Siyanda Xulu, Mothobi Mvala and 28-year-old Nyiko Mobbie started the win against Liberia back in March and should retain their roles in the XI.

Regragui named a solid XI in Monday's friendly against Cape Verde, and despite the disappointing result, we expect the 47-year-old to field a similar starting side this weekend.

However, we expect Sevilla goalkeeper Bono to come in for 34-year-old Monir El Kajoui, while Youssef En-Nesyri should take up the central position in attack, with Al-Ittihad's Abderrazak Hamdallah dropping to the bench.

Fiorentina man Amrabat should retain his place at the heart of the park, while we expect Hakimi and 25-year-old Noussair Mazraoui to take up the full-back roles.


South Africa possible starting lineup:
Williams; Maela, Xulu, Mvala, Mobbie; Mokoena, Blom; Mayambela, Tau, Maseko; Lepasa

Morocco possible starting lineup:
Bono; Hakimi, Aguerd, Saiss, Mazraoui; Sabiri, Amrabat, Louza; Ziyech, Boufal, En-Nesyri


We say: South Africa 0-1 Morocco

South Africa are currently on a fine run of results and will be backing themselves this weekend in front of their home supporters. However, we expect Morocco to have too much quality for the Bafana Bafana. Given the gulf in class and quality between the two sides, we fancy the Atlas Lions coming out on top this weekend.



For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.


Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data


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