South Africa must not underrate Cape Verde when they two sides meet in the quarter-finals of the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations on Saturday.
The two sides have surprised pundits with their impressive performances to reach the last eight of the tournament and will seek to go a step further.
Below are some of the statistics and information on the game:
● Cabo Verde and South Africa will meet for the second time at the CAF Africa Cup of Nations, after a 0-0 draw in the group stage in 2013. The previous encounter was Cabo Verde’s very first match in the competition and the very first game of the 2013 edition – hosted by South Africa.
● South Africa have reached the quarter-finals in three of their last four appearances at the CAF Africa Cup of Nations, while they’re looking to reach the semi-finals of the competition for the first time since 2000 (lost 2-0 against Nigeria).
● Cabo Verde have won three of their four matches at AFCON 2023 (D1), scoring eight goals, more victories, and more goals than in their previous 11 games in the competition combined (W2 D6 L3 GF6).
● Cabo Verde are looking to reach the semi-finals of the CAF Africa Cup of Nations for the first time, with this their second quarter-final appearance, their first since a 2-0 defeat to Ghana in 2013.
● South Africa have kept three consecutive clean sheets at the CAF Africa Cup of Nations for the first time since February 1998; the Bafana Bafana have never stopped their opponents from scoring in four AFCON matches in a row.
● South Africa have made just two changes to their starting eleven at AFCON 2023, the joint fewest of any side, while opponents Cabo Verde have made 14 – only Guinea (17) have made more in the competition.
● At 29 years 64 days, Cabo Verde have the oldest average starting XI at AFCON 2023, indeed five of their eight goals have been scored by players aged 30 or over – the last team with more goals in a single edition from players aged 30+ were Egypt in 1998 (7).
● Cabo Verde have attempted the most dribbles at the 2023 CAF Africa Cup of Nations (95, 44 successful). Indeed, the Blue Sharks attempted 34 dribbles in the Round of 16 against Mauritania (13 successful); the highest total in an AFCON match this year.
● Themba Zwane has been directly involved in 50% (3/6) of South Africa’s goals at AFCON 2023 (two goals, one assist), while he could become the first Bafana Bafana player to score three goals in a single edition of AFCON since Shaun Bartlett in 2000 (5).
● Ryan Mendes has been directly involved in more goals (four – two goals, two assists) than any other Cabo Verde player at the CAF Africa Cup of Nations, while his three goal involvements (two goals, one assist) at AFCON 2023 is also the most by a Cabo Verde player in a single edition.