Bafana set to host both legs of their Afcon qualifiers against Sao Tome and Principe this month

Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki .
Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki .
Image: Gallo Images

South Africa will host both legs of their Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers against Sao Tome and Principe this month.

The two countries confirmed on Thursday in a memorandum of understanding statement released by the South African Football Association (Safa) that the two-legged tie would be played in SA.

Caf’s approval of this arrangement has not been made public yet but Safa said in the statement they’ve sealed an understanding with the islanders to host both ties‚ citing Covid-19 as the main reason for the decision.

Initially Bafana Bafana were scheduled to host the first match at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on November 13 and then fly straight to Sao Tome for the second leg that was to be played in Sao Tome on November 16.

It is not clear where the second match will be played now but an insider at Safa told TimesLIVE on Thursday that the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth is likely to be chosen as a venue for the second leg.

“The two countries mutually agreed that due to the Covid-19 pandemic‚ it was in the best interest of [both parties] that they do everything in their power to safeguard the interest of players and officials.

"Therefore both parties agreed that the first and return leg matches will be played in South Africa‚” the Safa statement read.

The arrangement should suit Bafana as they are desperate to claw their way to the top of Group C and displace leaders Ghana‚ who beat then Bafana 2-0 at home last year.

Molefi Ntseki’s charges finished the year by beating Sudan 1-0 at home to remain level on four points with the north-east Africans‚ but who have a better goal difference.

Ghana will host Sudan in the first of the back-to-back matches of the third round this month. What is not clear is whether the Black Stars will be given the same opportunity to also host both legs at home.

Only the two top teams in each of the 12 groups will qualify for the Afcon to be hosted by Cameroon in June/July.

Bafana finished in the last 8 in the previous edition of the continental event in Egypt last year.

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