Lyle Foster, Ronwen Williams & players who might lift South Africa past Nigeria in World Cup qualifier

The Hugo Broos-led team will be aiming at causing an upset when they play the West Africans in the next couple of days

Bafana Bafana hope to avenge the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations semi-final defeat to the Super Eagles when the two nations chase vital three points on Friday in Group C of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers.

While South Africa have three points from the two games played, Nigeria have managed to get just two from as many outings and will be giving their best to get maximum points in Uyo.

Coach Hugo Broos will have to do without some injured players like the injured Grant Kekana, Lebo Mothiba, Tapelo Xoki and Evidence Makgopa – who lacks match fitness after a long spell in the sidelines.

However, the Belgian has a relatively strong squad that can cause all types of problems against a fancied Nigeria side who have several world class players who are hungry to bring their journey to the United States, Mexico and Canada back on track.

Who will Broos rely on to bring down the Finidi George-led side in front of tens of thousands of their fans expected to fill the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium?

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Williams Saves! – How Mamelodi Sundowns keeper can inspire Bafana to victory

Ronwen Williams' crucial saves saw Mamelodi Sundowns win the African Football League (AFL) after keeping five clean sheets from the six games the team played.

He also kept 15 clean sheets in the 22 Premier Soccer League matches the custodian played in the concluded season.

Lest you forget, the Bafana Bafana captain single handedly helped his team reach the semi-final of the 2023 Afcon after stopping four penalties against Equatorial Guinea in the quarter-final, before again playing stopping DR Congo to win bronze.

The Downs keeper is currently among the best in Africa and will be tasked with stopping Nigeria attackers from finding the back of the net.

Mvala the Dragon – Time for erratic center-back to prove his worth

Mothobi Mvala is nicknamed ‘the Dragon’ owing to his no nonsense approach in stopping attackers in the final third.

However, the Masandawana man is prone to mistakes as seen in the final game of the PSL when he gifted Jaedin Rhodes a chance to score the lone goal in favour of Cape Town City and in the process kill Downs’ invincible dream.

The 29-year-old will be needed to be alert at all times and coordinate well with fellow defenders to stop the likes of Victor Boniface and Ademola Lookman from causing havoc. 

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Will Mudau manage to keep Lookman quiet?

Ademola Lookman’s hat trick helped Atalanta beat Bayer Leverkusen 3-0 to be crowned the 2023/14 Europa League champions.

Initially, there were concerns about the availability of Khuliso Mudau who has been consistent at both the club and international level. He is the only fit candidate who has what it takes to stop Lookman.

Mzansi can now breath with ease after Broos confirmed the right-back is available after an injury scare.

“Everybody knows what happened in the Nedbank Cup final on Saturday [against Orlando Pirates] but after the medical check on Sunday, the doctor said that his injury is not that bad. So, he will be ready and he trained… for the Friday game.”

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The Bafana midfield without Mokoena? Well, it is unthinkable!

The 2022/23 PSL Player of the Year missed a few weeks owing to a hamstring injury, but was fit enough to play the entire game against Bucs.

Teboho Mokoena was Bafana’s engine in the 2023 Afcon and was rewarded with a place in the Team of the tournament. 

Good to have him in the team because he is one player who can dictate the tempo and ensure there is coordination from defense all the way to attack. 

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The prodigal son, Foster, finds his way home

Lyle Foster controversially missed Afcon which did not go down well with the majority of the South African fans.

However, Broos confirmed the striker couldn’t play for Bafana with the mental condition he was suffering.

After getting another chance – and with the absence of Makgopa, Foster should work with Percy Tau and the likes to ensure they get something to celebrate in Uyo.

Lyle Foster, Ronwen Williams & players who might lift South Africa past Nigeria in World Cup qualifier
Willis Sob

Willis Sob is an experienced journalist who has been in the game since 2009, covering major assignments around the continent.
His hunger for African football is unmatched, always getting the best angles and facts to feed the fans and quench their thirst.