Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki has a stern assignment on the field on Sunday, with his first game in charge of the national team against a strong Mali side.
Having had two countries pull out of fixtures against South Africa during the previous international break, it's all systems go this time around with the Nelson Mandela Challenge encounter held in Port Elizabeth.
Bafana adopt attacking approach for Mali
Ntseki's predecessor, Stuart Baxter came under heavy criticism for being too defensive throughout his tenure, but the former SA Under-17 coach has hinted at completely different tactics.
"By being offensive as team you are likely to score goals and win matches.
“When playing offensive football you also need to have stability and balance in defence‚ because if you don't concede it means that you are likely to win the match.
“So by us being offensive it will help the team to get goals and also help us to get a defensive discipline not to concede goals.”Molefi Ntseki
Mali are ranked 57th in the world, some 14 spots above South Africa.
They went as far as the Round of 16 in the recent Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, while Bafana did one better by qualifying for the last eight.
Ntseki believes the squad he has picked has what it takes to give the West Africans a solid challenge.
“We have seen them [Mali] play in the Afcon – they did very well. They are a highly physical team‚” Ntseki said.
“Most of their players are playing abroad and they are highly technical‚ but I think we are a very balanced team as South Africa because of the type of players we have in the team.”Molefi Ntseki
South Africa vs Mali squads
Goalkeepers: Darren Keet (Leuven, Belgium), Ronwen Williams (SuperSport United), Brandon Peterson (Bidvest Wits).
Defenders: Eric Mathoho (Kaizer Chiefs), Buhle Mkhwanazi, Thulani Hlatshwayo (Bidvest Wits), Thapelo Morena (Mamelodi Sundowns), Mosa Lebusa (Mamelodi Sundowns), Thamsanqa Mkhize (CT City), Innocent Maela (Orlando Pirates).
Midfielders: Kamohelo Mokotjo (Brentford, England), Thato Mokeke (CT City), Dean Furman (SuperSport United), Lebogang Phiri (Guingamp, France), Bongani Zungu (Amiens, France), Themba Zwane (Mamelodi Sundowns), Thulani Serero (Al Jazira, Abu Dhabi), Keagan Dolly (Montpellier, France).
Forwards: Lebo Mothiba (Strasbourg, France), Bradley Grobler (SuperSport United), Kermit Erasmus (CT City) Thembinkosi Lorch (Orlando Pirates), Percy Tau (Club Brugge, Belgium)
Goalkeepers: Djigui Diarra (Stade Malien)‚ Adama Keita (Djoliba).
Defenders: Mamadou Fofana (Metz‚ France)‚ Massadio Haidara (Racing Lens‚ France)‚ Youssouf Kone (Olympique Lyonnais‚ France)‚ Kiki Kouyate (Troyes‚ France)‚ Cheik-Omar Traore (Racing Lens‚ France)‚ Molla Wague (Nantes‚ France).
Midfielders: Lassana Coulibaly (Cercle Bruges‚ Belgium)‚ Cheick Doucoure (Racing Lens‚ France)‚ Amadou Haidara (RB Leipzig‚ Germany)‚ Adama Traore (Metz‚ France).
Forwards: Mohamed Camara (FC Salzburg‚ Austria)‚ Ibrahim Kandia (unattached)‚ Sekou Koita (FC Salzburg‚ Austria)‚ Hadi Sacko (Denizlispor‚ Turkey).