POLOKWANE - Bafana Bafana face Senegal in two must-win matches over the next four days, to decide which side will qualify for the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia.
With Percy Tau likely to lead the line for Bafana and Sadio Mane almost certain to start for Senegal, we've compared the two forwards and their accomplishments.
Club: Mamelodi Sundowns
Caps: Eight, three goals
2017 recognition: Nominated for CAF African-based Player of the Year and SA Sports Star of the Year.
The omission of striker Tokelo Rantie has left the youthful Tau to take responsibility up front and mature quickly on the international stage.
And he’s not looked out of place, with observers even arguing that he should have led the line in the home leg of the shock defeat against Cape Verde in September instead of coming off the bench later on.
Tau’s club form has not been that convincing lately as Sundowns have struggled for form, but usually brazen and prepared to take men on, he remains the best hope for goals in the national team.
Caps: 45, 13 goals
2017 recognition: Liverpool Player of the Season, shortlisted for Fifa Player of the Year and nominated for CAF Player of the Year.
There was shock when he was included in the Senegal squad for this World Cup qualifier even though his club’s medical report had pencilled him in for a return to action only two weeks after the international break.
But when he made an appearance for Liverpool in their most recent match last weekend, setting up two goals in their 4-1 win against West Ham United, it was clear that he is ready to take on Bafana.
Mane is Senegal’s talisman and will want to step up and help to take the Lions of Teranga to their first World Cup since 2002.
Past results between Bafana and Senegal
2002 Nelson Mandela Challenge: Bafana 1-1 Senegal (Senegal won 4-1 on penalties)
2004 International Friendly: Senegal 2-1 Bafana
2005 Nelson Mandela Challenge: Bafana 2-3 Senegal
2008 African Cup of Nations (Ghana): Senegal 1-1 Bafana
2012 International Friendly: Bafana 0-0 Senegal
2015 African Cup of Nations (Equatorial Guinea): Bafana 1-1 Senegal
2015 Nelson Mandela Challenge: Bafana 1-0 Senegal