South Africa know they're up against it in the knockout stages having been awarded a tough match against the 2022 World Cup semi-finalist Morocco. While they're a great side anyway, the fact that their defence has given up one goal all tournmate makes it that bit more frightening.
Bafana Bafana can look back on their empathetic 4-0 victory against Namibia as the result which set them up to get to this stage, but they failed to score in their other two group stage matches, so their attacking players must now step up when it matters.
South Africa first goalscorer odds – Our picks
Percy Tau – (19/2)
The former Brighton striker is experienced at both club and international level, so won't be worried about playing in AFCON. Tau has 15 goals in 42 appearances for Bafana Bafana and will be hopeful of adding to that tally this week.
Tau is his country's fifth top scorer of all time so a lot of pressure now falls onto his shoulders. It's quite an achievement for Bafana Bafana to have reached the knockout stages, although to go home at this stage would still be disappointing.
Attractive odds of 19/2 should be pounced upon, especially with Tau being on free-kicks and all penalties when on the pitch. This will always make a player much more attractive in the first goalscorer market, which is what happened against Namibia when he scored first.
Evidence Makgopa – (10/1)
Evidence Makgopa has started every game thus far for Bafana Bafana and is one of the main attacking threats for South Africa. His talents were on show during their 4-0 win in which he got his first international goal since September 2021.
Makgopa has been the starting striker for South Africa at AFCON this year, although he and Tau are flexible in how they rotate throughout the game. Therefore, it's no surprise that they are the two favourites to find the back of the net first, especially when the backup options for South Africa do not have much of a pedigree when it comes to scoring goals.
Themba Zwane – (23/2)
After a disappointing first game of AFCON against Mali, Themba Zwane stepped up against Namibia. The South African attacker netted the second and third goals of the game after Percy Tau had opened the scoring, so as things stand, they're both good odds to be the first goal scorer.
This is the third AFCON that Zwane has been a part of and at 33 years of age, he is one of the more experienced players in this underachieving South African side. Zwane has odds of 23/2 to score first in this knockout clash and extend his lead as his country's top scorer at this year's AFCON.
Zwane has been deployed in a deeper role this tournament which is allowing him to pick up a lot more space and not be forced to play with his back to goal as he usually would as a striker. He appears to be thriving in this role with two goals in three appearances already.
Thapelo Morena – (40/1)
For somebody who has started the last two games for South Africa, odds of 40/1 appear very very tasty. Thapelo Morena has started two games in a row in the right-wing position meaning he's seeing a lot of the ball and popping up in extremely attacking positions.
It's rather bizarre why Morena has such long odds, whereas players who didn't even get on the pitch las time out can be found with far shorter ones. However, Morena is indeed yet to score his first goal of AFCON 2023, but with starts alsot guaranteed he can never be ignored.
South Africa are likely to sit in and soak up a lot of pressure from Morocco given they will be the underdogs. So, counter-attacks with the ball going out wide and potentially set-pieces are going to be crucial, something that will benefit Morena's likelihood of scoring the first goal.
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