Bafana Bafana need to kick-start their 2023 AFCON campaign, while their opponents can secure a spot in the next round. Look ahead with our South Africa vs Namibia prediction and preview.

South Africa vs Namibia: Pre-Match Facts

  • The Opta supercomputer is backing South Africa to win this Group E encounter after winning 49.9% of the 10,000 pre-match simulations.
  • This will be the third meeting between South Africa and Namibia at the CAF Africa Cup of Nations – each encounter has taken place in the group stages. South Africa have won both of their previous meetings: 4-1 in 1998 and 1-0 in 2019.
  • South Africa lost their first AFCON game this year, losing 2-0 to Mali. They haven’t lost their opening two games in an AFCON tournament since 2006, when they lost all three matches in the group stage.
  • After nine winless AFCON games between 1998 and 2019 (D2 L7), Namibia registered their first win in the competition on MD 1 this year against Tunisia. That 1-0 victory was also the first time they’d kept a clean sheet in the competition.
  • Of South Africa’s 16 wins at the Africa Cup of Nations, 38% of them have been on home soil when they’ve hosted the tournament (six wins across 1996 and 2013). Their win percentage when they’ve hosted AFCON is 60% (six wins in 10 games), compared to just 29% outside their own country (10 wins in 34 games).
  • In just one game at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, Namibia have already had more shots on target (6) than they managed in three games at the 2019 edition (5), while they’ve registered 65% of the total shots (13) they had in 2019 (20).
  • Namibia’s Peter Shalulile had more shots (6), shots on target (3), shots from inside the box (5) and touches in the opposition box (9) than any other player on either side in their 1-0 win over Tunisia on Tuesday. He also registered a higher cumulative xG total (1.15) than Tunisia did as a team (0.69).
  • Namibia’s winning goal against Tunisia was scored by Dean Hotto, with the Orlando Pirates midfielder becoming their oldest ever scorer at the Africa Cup of Nations (33 years, 79 days). The last Namibian player to score more than once at an AFCON tournament was Brian Brendell in 2008.
  • South Africa’s Percy Tau had five efforts at goal without success in their 2-0 defeat to Mali on MD1, including missing a penalty. He was the first South African player to have five attempts at goal without scoring in an AFCON match since Tokelo Rantie in 2015 against Algeria.

Match Preview

It may only be Matchday 2 of the Africa Cup of Nations, but South Africa and Namibia already find themselves at a potentially pivotal moment ahead of their duel at Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium on Sunday due to contrasting fortunes in their respective Group E openers.

South Africa lost 2-0 to Mali on MD 1, meaning more dropped points this weekend will almost certainly require them to win their final – and toughest on paper – game of the group stage against Tunisia next week if they’re to have any realistic hope of reaching the knockout phase.

Namibia, on the other hand, opened their campaign with a shock 1-0 win over Tunisia, earning their first-ever victory at the Africa Cup of Nations. If they make it two from two, they’ll achieve another first by booking their spot in the next round.

Tunisia vs Namibia xG race

Collin Benjamin’s side should have nothing to fear now; the Opta supercomputer had them as rank outsiders against the Carthage Eagles on MD 1, winning just 19.2% of the pre-match simulations compared to Tunisia’s 61%, and yet they were good value for the victory.

Striker Peter Shalulile alone accumulated more expected goals (xG) than Tunisia despite not even scoring; in the end, the team managed 1.76 xG to their opponents’ 0.69 as they created the better opportunities.

Perhaps Namibia’s lack of fear on MD 1 can inspire South Africa; after all, their situation requires them to take the initiative. Their missed penalty aside, clear-cut chances were hard to come by against Mali but they still recorded 12 shots and saw more of the ball (54%).

Mali vs South Africa xG map

The omens are good considering they’ve a positive head-to-head record against Namibia at the Africa Cup of Nations and not lost their opening two games of an AFCON since 2008 – but if the Brave Warriors’ win over Tunisia showed anything, it’s that Bafana Bafana will have to earn their tournament lifeline here.

With the four best third-place teams also going through to the last 16, defeat on Sunday wouldn’t quite make it game over for South Africa, though their chances of progression would plummet dramatically.

South Africa vs Namibia Head-to-Head

With this their third AFCON meeting, Namibia will have faced South Africa more times than any other opponent in the tournament. Each of their past two duels ended in South Africa victories, however.

Bafana Bafana’s 4-1 win over Namibia in 1998 is also the last time a player scored more than three goals in a game at the Africa Cup of Nations. Benni McCarthy found the net four times in the space of 13 minutes for South Africa (8’, 11’, 19’, 21’).

Another one-sided victory would go down a treat for South Africa considering their MD 1 defeat already has them playing catch-up with respect to their goal difference.

South Africa vs Namibia Prediction

South Africa vs Namibia Opta match prediction

Despite the nature of their opening matches, South Africa are considered strong favourites to beat Namibia on Sunday according to the Opta supercomputer. They won 49.9% of the latest pre-match simulations.

Namibia came out on top 26.3% of the time. Although that makes South Africa nearly twice as likely to win, Namibia overcame greater odds against Tunisia; why can’t they do it again?

In our pre-tournament predictions, the Opta supercomputer considered Namibia to be the joint least likely to go all the way, lifting the trophy in just 0.5% of simulations. That’s since improved, and they have overtaken South Africa in the process.

Bafana Bafana’s chances of winning the tournament have dropped from 2.1% before MD 1 as a result of their defeat to Mali.

Below you’ll find the current, up-to-date chances of progression for both teams all the way through AFCON 2023 according to the Opta supercomputer:

South Africa vs Namibia Squads

South Africa: Ronwen Williams, Ricardo Goss, Veli Mothwa, Siyanda Xulu, Tapelo Xoki, Khuliso Mudau, Mothobi Mvala, Nyiko Mobbie, Nkosinathi Sibisi, Terrence Mashego, Thapelo Morena, Grant Kekana, Themba Zwane, Teboho Mokoena, Sibongiseni Mthethwa, Thabang Monare, Aubrey Modiba, Oswin Appollis, Sphephelo Sithole, Jayden Adams, Thapelo Maseko, Elias Mokwana, Percy Tau, Evidence Makgopa, Iqraam Rayners, Zakhele Lepasa, Mihlali Mayambela.

Coach: Hugo Broos

Namibia: Edward Maova, Kamaijanda Ndisiro, Lloyd Kazapua, Ivan Kamberipa, Denzil Haoseb, Ryan Nyambe, Kennedy Amutenya, Riaan Hanamub, Lubeni Haukongo, Charles Hambira, Aprocius Petrus, Joslin Kamatuka, Petrus Shitembi, Deon Hotto, Ngero Katua, Ananias Gebhardt, Absalom Iimbondi, Marcell Papama, Bethuel Muzeu, Peter Shalulile, Prins Tjiueza, Wendell Rudath, Uetuuru Kambato.

Coach: Collin Benjamin

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