MANY fear that Senegal’s Sadio Mane poses a real threat to Bafana Bafana’s chances of claiming a crucial victory tonight.
But a closer look at the Lions of Teranga reveals more danger lurking in the shadow of the Liverpool linchpin, as no fewer than five players come into the match in devastating form.
Monaco striker Keita Balde has banged in three goals in the last three matches for the French Ligue 1 side.
Though his strength lies on the wing, the 22-year-old can also operate in all attacking positions, having shown his versatility in the Uefa Champions League recently. He could be a handful for the frequently shaky Bafana defence.
Oumar Niasse has also picked up some fine form, scoring for Everton in their 3-2 win against Watford in the English Premiership. He links up quite impressively with national teammate Idrissa Gueye in the Everton side.
Then there is Cheikhou Kouyate, the defensive midfielder who pulled his weight for West Ham United against Liverpool, despite their 4-1 Premiership defeat on Sunday.
The captain is bound to add solidity in defence to negate the threat Bafana’s nippy forwards may pose.
But a major psychological boost is the return of Mane, who has miraculously recovered from a hamstring strain and is ready to lead the attack. According to reports, he will be accompanied on the trip by a physical trainer, courtesy of the Reds.
Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp is also reportedly in Mzansi on invitation from the Hout Bay United Foundation. He could very well attend the match and lend support to his prized asset.