Both sides will enter the dungeons in search of all three points after a fine run in the group. But South Africa will be spurred on by the fact that they have an impeccable record against their opponents who surprisingly find themselves on the summit of the group.
It was some 22 years ago when Bafana Bafana first played Congo in a 1994 FIFA World Cup qualifier at Soccer City. The game finished 1-0 in favour of Bafana Bafana and the scorer was prolific striker Phil Masinga. Coincidentally the coach was current mentor Shakes Mashaba.
Mashaba is the coach again and Congo are the opponents again in a must win encounter, again.
In arguably the most hostile environment Bafana ever played in, Clive Baker’s South Africa lost 2-0 on April 6 1997, putting a severe dent in their hopes of qualifying for France 1998.
There was serious intimidation for Bafana players on that day, from the Congolese army in particular. But Bafana did recover to qualify for France, sealed with a 1-0 win over Congo again at Soccer City, and again with Masinga netting the winner.
The last time the two sides met at the same venue was in June 2007, Parreira was upset with the Congolese FA for not giving Bafana the right match ball to train with ahead of their titanic encounter.
South Africa still managed a creditable 1-1 draw, Sibusiso Zuma grabbing the away side’s goal in the 51st minute.
But it will be a different ball game on Saturday yet a lot is at stake. Mashaba will want to continue with his winning streak against Congo while the hosts know that collecting all three points at home will further stretch their lead.