Stuart Baxter’s Bafana Bafana are meeting their northern neighbours for the third time in a row in the COSAFA Castle Cup, and 11th time overall, and have yet to taste outright defeat. They have won six and drawn four of the 10 previous matches.
Their last meeting was in the final of the COSAFA Castle Cup last year in Windhoek when a South African side made up mostly of Under-23 players won 3-2.
That was thanks to two penalties from Gift Motupa and a further strike from Thabiso Kutumela as Bafana claimed a record-equalling fourth title in the competition.
It has now been over 24 years since the first meeting between the countries, a friendly encounter in Gaborone soon after international readmission that was won 2-0 by South Africa as Gardner Seale and John Moshoeu both scored on debut.
It would be another six years before the teams met again, this time in a competitive fixture in the 1999 COSAFA Castle Cup as Pollen Ndlanya and Maimane Phiri scored for Bafana in a 2-1 win, while a young Dipsy Selolwane was on target for the Zebras.
The teams then clashed in the regional showpiece competition in 2002, this time Bafana needing post-match penalties to advance after a 0-0 draw in Gaborone.
Roll on four years and the teams locked horns in the COSAFA Castle Cup, again in the Botswana capital. It was during the first spell in charge of the side for former coach Pitso Mosimane, with the Zebras coming through the shoot-out 6-5 after Siboniso Gaxa had his penalty saved. As the match finished 0-0 though, it goes down in the record books as a draw.
Just a year later and the nations met again in the same competition, Teko Modise this time on target in a narrow 1-0 win for Bafana at the Super Stadium in Atteridgeville.
Bryce Moon and Sibusiso Zuma scored in a 2-1 success in 2008, before Bafana were held to a 1-1 draw in the qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup in what would prove a costly result in the end.
Morgan Gould gave the side the lead, in what was Steve Komphela’s first match in his caretaker role following the axing of Mosimane in the week before the game, before Botswana equalised through Ofentse Nato.
That match also provided a national team debut for Tokelo Rantie, though FIFA still stubbornly insist it was Andile Jali who came off the bench in the game, robbing Rantie of a cap in their official records.
The return World Cup qualifier at home yielded an emphatic 4-1 success for Bafana as Dean Furman and Kermit Erasmus scored their first international goals to go with a double-strike from Bernard Parker, the second from the spot.
The sides engaged in a COSAFA Castle Cup quarterfinal in 2015 that finished 0-0 and saw Botswana triumph in the penalty shoot-out, before 12 months later they were at it again in that final in Windhoek.
SOUTH AFRICA VS BOTSWANA
10/01/93 (a) 2-0 (Seale 58’, Moshoeu 86’)
20/02/99 (a) 2-1 (Ndlanya 36’, Phiri 39’)
30/03/02 (a) 0-0
21/05/06 (a) 0-0
29/09/07 (h) 1-0 (Modise 31’)
16/01/08 (h) 2-1 (Moon 41’, Zuma 81’)
09/06/12 (a) 1-1 (Gould 15’)
07/09/13 (h) 4-1 (Erasmus 28’, Furman 45’, Parker 84’, 89’pen)
24/05/15 (h) 0-0
25/06/16 (a) 3-2 (Motupa 33’pen, 88’pen, Kutumela 66’)