Bafana Bafana opponents in their opening game of the 2019 African Cup of Nations Ivory Coast have got a strong French link in their squad and one man who can help Stuart Baxter to plot their downfall is the French based striker Lebo Mothiba.

A product of the Diambars academy in Boksburg, Mothiba moved to France when he was still in his teens and came up through the reserve system there before making his name at Lille before he was sold to RC Strasbourg at the beginning of last season.

Mothiba will come up against the Ivorians on Monday at the Al Salam stadium in Cairo (16:30) and he assesses their strengths.

One of the danger men in this squad of the Elephants is Nicholas Pepe, the speedy winger who plays at Mothiba’s former club (Lille) and is a subject of speculation in this transfer window. Mothiba says Pepe poses a serious threat:

With most members of the recent golden generation of the Ivoirians having gone to retirement or phased out, the Elephants are on a rebuilding phase. But there’s still some experienced players like Max Gradel, Wilfried Bony, captain Serge Aurier who bring their experience to talented young latent like Franck Kessie, Wilfried Zaha and more.

Mothiba says the difference between Bafana and the Elephants would be that they play as a team compared to them.

The French Ligue have got the biggest representation in this tournament with 88 players followed by the South Africa Premier Soccer League and the national First Division with 47 players in total.

Besides some African countries which were colonised by France, the French Ligue 1 remains one of the most attractive leagues to African players. – Report by Velile Mnyandu