Bafana Bafana and The Pharaohs of Egypt have two squads that are dominated by locally-based players, with the South Africans bringing 17 players from the PSL and Egypt 15 from the EPL.
And some of these players have met each other in the CAF Champions League this season, one game to remember the 5-0 demolition of Al Ahly by Mamelodi Sundowns.
One of the chief destroyers that day was Themba Zwane who unfortunately will miss this game due to suspension.
Ahead of the crucial African Cup of Nations (AFCON) last 16 match between the two nations at Cairo International stadium on Saturday evening (kick-off at 21:00), head coach Stuart Baxter says this is an opportunity for another player to shine.
Baxter has also given an update on Bafana’s midfield enforcer Dean Furman who missed the last two matches due to an injury and whether he will be available for this game.
French based midfielder Bongani Zungu has started the last two matches, his gradually regaining the match fitness and knows that on Saturday they have a chance to earn the respect in this tournament.
Coming up against close to 75 000 Egyptians on Saturday night, Baxter says they will go to this game with a bit of caution but also believing that they can cause an upset.
The crowd has also been the driving force behind the Egyptian national team in this tournament but they can quickly turn against their team as well when things don’t go right and this is where Baxter wants to focus on that.
It’s been 19 years since Bafana last won a knockout game at the AFCON, going back to their 1-0 quarterfinal win over Ghana in Kumasi in 2000.
Zungu, who is the only player to have scored a goal for Bafana in this tournament says it’s about time they rewrite the history books.
Bafana has never beaten Egypt at the AFCON finals but on Saturday they come as underdogs, a tag that is not good for the hosts.
Mexican-born coach Javier Aguirre played against Bafana at the opening game of the 2010 World Cup and says the home advantage will count for nothing on Saturday. – Report by Velile Mnyandu