Analysis on Bernard Parker

Premiership takes a closer look at his efforts in Bafana's previous four games, which have yielded three goals and two assists for the 27-year-old.

South Africa's last four results read as follows: SA 0-2 Nigeria, SA 4-1 Botswana, SA 2-0 Burkina Faso and SA 1-2 Zimbabwe.

Parker struck twice and set up the other two goals against the outclassed Zebras in a World Cup qualifier, while he scored his third in the friendly defeat to the Warriors last month.

Over the four games, Parker has taken 17 shots on goal, with 52.9% of his efforts on target - a modest ratio for a marksman.

However, it must be noted his average suffered by his failure to get a shot away against the dominant Super Eagles in the Nelson Mandela Challenge.

Against Botswana and Burkina Faso his shooting accuracy peaked at 66.6%, with four out of six efforts on target on both occasions.

But it slipped to 33.3% against Zim - although his sole accurate attempt bore a goal.

While Parker - who to be fair is more of a number 10 than an out-and-out striker - can better his accuracy, he encouragingly took nine of his 17 shots from outside of the box, with his efforts almost evenly split from the left (nine) and right side of the penalty spot.

This indicates Parker poses an equal threat from range and close by, while his ability to shoot confidently with either foot frees up his offensive options when stepping in off either flank. A player heavily reliant on one foot, such as Amakhosi teammate Siphiwe Tshabalala is more likely to favour a particular side of the penalty spot when considering pulling the trigger.

When it comes to linking up with his teammates, the hard-working Parker averaged 37.25 passes per game, with a respectable success rate of 74.4%, while he registered one successful cross in eight attempts, which suggests he might be better served spending more time in the area.

Statistics aside, Parker has clearly been in fine form this season, as evidenced by his goals for club and country.

Parker, who shares fourth spot with Philemon Masinga on the Bafana all-time scoring list with 18 strikes, is leading the PSL scoring charts with Edward Manqele on four goals apiece.

And while national coach Gordon Igesund has indicated he aims to experiment this evening, with Kermit Erasmus and Tokelo Rantie also vying for positions up front, it would be folly to sacrifice Bafana's chief threat when his confidence and performance argue otherwise.