Both on the back of failed World Cup Qualifying bids, South Africa and Guinea will square off in an international friendly on Friday.
Bafana Bafana missed out on progression to the next stage of African qualifiers by the barest of margins, while Guinea were most recently involved in the Africa Cup of Nations.
After a draw with Zimbabwe in their opening game, South Africa looked set to progress to the final stage of African World Cup Qualifying as they recorded four straight victories, including a 1-0 home win over favourites Ghana.
In those games, Hugo Broos’s side netted six goals while only allowing one at the other end, leaving them three points ahead of Ghana with a slightly superior goal difference heading into their meeting on the final day.
Bafana Bafana knew they just had to avoid defeat to progress, but they were not able to do so, as Andre Ayew’s goal made the difference in a 1-0 win for the hosts.
That saw them move level on points and goal difference with South Africa and progress thanks to having scored one goal more, cruelly denying Broos’s men a place in the third round.
Having surprisingly failed to qualify for the recent Africa Cup of Nations, the national team will return to action after a four-month hiatus desperate to lift their spirits and put last year’s disappointment behind them with a victory on Friday.
They meet a Guinea side who did compete in the continental tournament after struggling to keep pace in their World Cup Qualifying group.
Having failed to win any of their six games, the Syli National bowed out in third place, but the same could not be said for their Africa Cup of Nations campaign, as they progressed to the knockout stage thanks to a win over Malawi and a creditable draw with eventual winners Senegal.
Gambia awaited in the round of 16, and, with an injury-hit squad, Kaba Diawara’s team were unable to go any further as Musa Barrow hit the only goal of the game in the final 15 minutes to send them home.
As a result, the Syli National will also enter this round of friendlies looking to bounce back to form before they meet Zambia next week.
South Africa form (all competitions):
Guinea form (all competitions):
We say: South Africa 1-1 Guinea
While Guinea may boast a stronger squad, the loss of a key man does go some way to level the playing field, and they meet a South Africa team who have been impressive recently.
Bafana Bafana were resilient in qualifying, and, despite narrowly missing out, they showed that they can hold their own against Africa’s stronger nations.