Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter is likely to get his wish with SA’s next two home Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers set for the FNB Stadium.
Although an official announcement has not yet been made‚ Business Day understands that the team’s next fixture — a home clash with Seychelles — is set for Saturday‚ October 13 at the Soweto venue with a 3pm kickoff.
The side will then travel to Stade Linite in Roche Caiman for the return leg on October 16 in what is a vital double-header to Bafana’s chances of reaching the continental finals in Cameroon in June 2019. The team’s pen-ultimate qualifier after that is home to Nigeria‚ with that match set for Saturday‚ November 17 at 3pm‚ also at FNB Stadium.
They then travel to a neutral North African country to face Libya in March 2019.
Baxter had bemoaned the fact that Saturday’s home clash against Libya‚ which ended in a disappointing 0-0 draw‚ had been taken to sea level in Durban‚ giving up the advantage of altitude that can play such a big role for visiting teams.
"The venue [Durban] is for sea-level people‚ I suppose you would want to take them to altitude‚" Baxter said last week.
"I was told that was impossible. I don’t want to go into the reasons and whys and wherefores. We’re here. We’re playing the game here."
Bafana have played at either FNB Stadium or Orlando Stadium‚ both at the same altitude‚ just four times in the past four years and on each occasion they have been victorious.
They beat Burkina Faso 3-1 in a World Cup qualifier at FNB Stadium in October 2017 and edged Egypt‚ Senegal and Zambia, all 1-0, at Orlando.
Their previous match at FNB Stadium prior to the Burkinabe clash was a fairly disastrous 5-0 thrashing by Brazil in March 2014‚ though the nature of the game meant the South Americans could use six substitutes to keep their side fresh.
Of course, Bafana’s proudest moment was January 27 1996 when they beat Tunisia in the Afcon final at FNB Stadium, which was known as Soccer City at the time.