Bafana Bafana vs Cape Verde is the game to watch when the second batch of quarter-final matches kick off on Saturday, with both sides seeking a place in the semi-finals.
The Stade Charles Konan Banny de Yamoussoukro will come alive when the two sides clash, as it should be a feisty affair.
Bafana Bafana followed up their 0-0 draw with Tunisia with a fine 2-0 win over Morocco.
With the salivating thought of a semi-final place, a thought both teams probably did not harbour before the tournament, let us piece together what we believe a combined XI of the Bafana Bafana vs Cape Verde side would look like.
Bafana Bafana vs Cape Verde combined XI – The squad
Ronwen Williams (GK)
Ronwen Williams has conceded only two goals at AFCON 2023 and was steady and calm when South Africa tackled the Atlas Lions of Morocco. It would be a travesty if the Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper does not make the Bafana Bafana vs Cape Verde combined XI.
Mothobi Mvala (CB)
Since Bafana Bafana lost 0-2 to Mali, Mothobi Mvala has come into his stride. The 29-year-old Mamelodi Sundowns defender has been a rock for South Africa at AFCON 2023.
He conceded the penalty that gave Morocco a lifeline that they squandered. Other than that, he has been steady.
Roberto Lopes (CB)
The 31-year-old Shamrock Rovers defender has been a wall for the Blue Sharks at AFCON 2023. Playing in his second tournament for Cape Verde, the defender has been instrumental to his side being tight at the back.
João Paulo Fernandes (LB)
It has been an exciting tournament for João Paulo Fernandes. The 25-year-old plays as a winger for Moldovan side Sheriff Tiraspol but has played at left-back for Cape Verde. He has been a good outlet for the Blue Sharks, offensively and defensively.
How I wish we can loose tomorrow's game against cape Verde , I am sick and tired of this nonsense. https://t.co/dmpooeseUW
— @shimaMaile🇿🇦 (@shima61539558) February 2, 2024
Steven Moreira (RB)
Steven Moreira would be surprised by the strides he has made at AFCON 2023. The Columbus Crew (Major League Soccer) right-back is playing his debut tournament for the Blue Sharks and has not looked like a fish out of water. Bafana Bafana should be wary of his marauding runs.
Teboho Mokoena (DM)
There is hardly a combined XI at AFCON 2023 that Teboho Mokoena would not make. In a Bafana Bafana vs Cape Verde combined XI, the Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder has posted solid performances for South Africa.
He scored a massive free-kick goal against Morocco to put the game to bed. It is a surprise that Mokoena is not playing for a European side.
He was the engine room for Bafana Bafana in all their victories, including the 4-0 win over Namibia.
Jamiro Monteiro (CM)
Jamiro Monteiro is another experienced player for the Blue Sharks. He plies his trade with San Jose Earthquakes in the MLS and has been one of the reasons why Cape Verde has been doing well at AFCON 2023.
Themba Zwane (CM)
The Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder has not been at his imperial best at AFCON 2023, but you’d be hard-pressed to see a midfielder from both sides who have put in a better shift than him. He was decent against Morocco.
DRC referee Ndala Ngambo will officiate the AFCON, quarterfinal match between Cape Verde and South Africa pic.twitter.com/gy602ubmHg
— #2023 AFL Champions 🏆 (@maetsebane) February 2, 2024
Jovane Cabral (LWF)
He probably has the highest profile on the Cape Verdean side. He is on loan from Sporting CP to Olympiacos Greece and has justified his place with the Blue Sharks. He is constantly looking to exploit the holes in the opponent's defence.
He should get a better deal after the tournament.
Ryan Mendes (RWF)
He has lit up the tournament for the Blues Sharks. At 34, he doesn’t start regularly for Cape Verde but has proved a handful when he does.
The Fatih Karagümrük winger is Cape Verde’s top scorer at AFCON 2023 with two goals and an assist.
Evidence Makgopa (CF)
The 23-year-old Orlando Pirates striker has done enough to merit a place in the Bafana Bafana vs Cape Verde combined XI.
He has one goal and assists in the tournament, though he fired blanks against Tunisia. The goal was against the Atlas Lions of Morocco.
This article was most recently revised and updated 3 weeks ago