After the disappointment of losing to Nigeria in the semi-final of the Africa Cup of Nations, South Africa will look to bounce back and end the tournament on a high with a victory against the DRC.
Saturday’s third/fourth-place playoff will be a chance for Hugo Broos and his charges to finish the tournament with a medal as Bafana Bafana seek to do one over the Leopards.
Many think that Broos should give some players who haven’t received many minutes in the tournament a run against the DRC but sources say he will go with a very strong lineup.
South Africa predicted XI vs DRC
It is worth noting that Bafana Bafana will be missing two key players for the third-place game against the DRC.
Thapelo Maseko, who got injured in the quarter-final against Cape Verde, has not recovered from injury and has been ruled out for the rest of the tournament.
Grant Kekana is also out of the third-place game after his red card in the semi-finals against Nigeria.
Hugo Broos is expected to continue with his favourite 4-2-3-1 formation.
A Golden glove contender who has been one of South Africa’s better performers at the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations.
He has been immense in South Africa’s run to the semis and was voted Man of the Match against Cape Verde, where he saved four penalty kicks.
Williams has kept in all of South Africa’s matches so far and is expected between the sticks against the DRC.
The Mamelodi Sundowns left-back is in line for a return to the team after only making an appearance against Cape Verde, where he played six minutes, his total at the tournament so far.
He comes in for his club teammate Audrey Modiba, who looked shaky against Nigeria in the semi-final loss.
Mashego offers more going forward than his teammate, who is expected to sit out the third-place game.
The Orlando Pirates defender comes in for the suspended Kekana in this predicted Bafana Bafana line-up.
Sibisi played his first minutes in the competition when he came on as a substitute for Zhakele Lepasa in Nigeria's semi-final loss.
Big, strong and good at the tackle, he will help South Africa’s quest for a third-place finish.
Probably the first defender in Hugo Broos' team sheet every match day as he has started all of South Africa’s matches at AFCON.
Mvala, who leads the team in clearances and interceptions per game, scored his penalty kick during the shoot-out loss to Nigeria in the semi-finals. He will partner with Sibisi in the heart of the Bafana Bafana defence.
The 32-year-old came on as a 75th-minute substitute in the game against Nigeria and will likely continue there against the DRC.
Zulu started the first group game against Mali, which South Africa lost 2-0, and then lost his spot to Kekana, who took his place and made it his own.
He has not been involved much in the tournament since then, and with the injuries to Maseko and Kekana out due to suspension, Zulu looks likely to start the game for Bafana Bafana.
In the defensive lineup of Bafana Bafana, he stands as a crucial component, forming part of a quartet predominantly comprising Sundowns players.
Mudau has been a consistent presence in the starting lineup as he has started in all the games Bafana Bafana have played at the tournament.
Given his consistent performances, Mudau is expected to retain his spot in Coach Broos' starting XI for the upcoming match against the DRC.
The 24-year-old, who plays in Portugal with Tondela, had a good game against Nigeria and will look to consolidate his form against the DRC.
He made a couple of successful tackles against Nigeria in the semi-finals despite being underwhelming thus far. He has started in all of Bafana Bafana's matches, but the Tondela player has failed to make a significant impact.
However, Sithole showed signs of improvement in his latest outing for South Africa, delivering his best performance of the tournament. He showcased defensive prowess with three clearances, two blocked shots, and three successful tackles against Cape Verde.
He is one of the stand-out performers for South Africa at the Africa Cup of Nations, where he has brought his set expertise to bear.
He scored that fabulous free-kick against Morocco in the Round of 16 and converted from the spot to draw South Africa level in the semi-finals against Nigeria, albeit Bafana Bafana lost the game through penalties after regulation time ended 1-1.
With an assist to boot, he will hope to shine against the DR Congo in the third-place game.
Many predicted a brilliant tournament for Tau, who is one of the leaders in the team, but it has been a disappointing event for the 29-year-old.
He missed a spot kick against Mali in the first group game and his only goal so far came from the spot in the 4-0 destruction of Namibia in the group stage.
Largely anonymous against Nigeria, it is expected Broos will keep faith with the Al Ahly man for the third-place game.
Another player who has started all games for Bafana Bafana with great input to show for it.
He scored twice against Namibia in the group stage and also had an assist in the win over Morocco in the Round of 16.
The Mamelodi Sundowns player was one of the better performers in the disappointing loss to Nigeria with his mazy runs down the wings.
Alongside Ronwen Williams, Makgopa is unarguably South Africa’s best player at the tournament for his all-round play, goals and contributions to the team.
The Orlando Pirates man has scored three goals so far in the tournament and was a handful against Namibia and Morocco.
A very powerful forward, Broos will rely on him to come good once again as Bafana Bafana aim to end the tournament high on the podium.
South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo will square up at the Stade Félix-Houphouët-Boigny in the third-place match of the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations on Saturday by 9 pm West Africa Standard time.