Chipolopolo are Bafana’s most regular adversaries
TONIGHT’S match up with the African champions is the 15th time that South Africa take on Zambia in an international — making them Bafana Bafana’s most frequent opponent.
Bafana Bafana have met Zimbabwe 12 times, Mauritius 11 and Egypt 10 over the past 20 years of international action but Zambia have been the most frequent adversary.
Honours are exactly even over the 14 matches, with four wins each and six draws. Goals are 15-14 in favour of Zambia.
The last meeting between the two countries was a friendly at Atteridgeville in 2009 in which Bafana triumphed with a second-half Teko Modise goal.
Zambia have featured prominently at pivotal moments in Bafana history like the 2-1 win Bafana registered over Chipolopolo at Ellis Park in 1994 on the day of Nelson Mandela’s inauguration.
The half-time break ran over close to 30 minutes long as the new president arrived late and was then introduced to the players, who had lined-up again in two rows before the kick- off of the second half.
Straight from the resumption, after a handshake from Mandela, South Africa scored twice in two minutes as the theory of “Madiba Magic” was born.
Zambia were the opponents when South Africa won a key game on the road to a first-ever World Cup qualification when Helman Mkhalele got the team off to an emphatic three-goal win with a rasping shot early on.
Zambia were South Africa’s opponents again the next year in Philippe Troussier’s first game in charge, just ahead of the World Cup in France.
Delron Buckley made his debut that night and is in the squad again 14 years later.
In 2008 South Africa were added to a rare list of countries who have beaten Zambia in Lusaka when centre back Aaron Mokoena scored the only goal in an African Nations Cup qualifier.
It was Pitso Mosimane who took charge of a memorable afternoon in Bafana history but then 11 months later, with Carlos Alberto Parreira having taken over, South Africa lost 3-1 at Newlands in Cape Town, giving up three goals to Chris Katongo in the first 20 minutes because of a series of schoolboy errors.
Papi Zothwane was taken off on the half-hour mark and never got a look in at international level again.
Zambia goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene and fullback Joseph Musonda have played in each of the past six games against Bafana Bafana while Chris Katongo and Collins Mbesuma have had four previous appearances against South Africa.
Mbesuma, for all his goal-scoring acumen, has never got a goal against Bafana but Zambia captain Katongo has beaten Bafana’s goalkeeper on five previous occasions.
Bafana have played a total of 84 different nations since the first international against Cameroon in June 1992.