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04.06.2005 Football News

WC Qualifier: Group Two Preview

Ibrahim Sannie (BBC Sports)
WC Qualifier: Group Two Preview

Cape Verde 1 - 2 South Africa Second-placed Cape Verde go into their home game against group-leaders South Africa on Sunday, knowing that victory could put them top of the group.

Coach Alexandre Alhinho's 19-man squad includes just three local-based players.

However the home side will be without experienced defender Ze Piguista, as he is suspended.

But they welcome back Sandro, Nelson Viega and Janicio who were all absent from their 2-1 away victory over Burkina Faso in the last qualifier.

Bafana Bafana are also without some key players.

Manchester United's Quinton Fortune, Shaun Bartlett of English side Charlton, Sibusiso Zuma of Nurnberg and Bradley Carnell of German club Borussia Monchengladbach have all been ruled out through injury.

Bafana Bafana also have a poor away record in the group, losing 3-0 in Ghana and going down to a late goal in the DR Congo before a Benni McCarthy penalty gave them a 1-0 victory over bottom team Uganda in Kampala.

Third placed Ghana take on Burkina Faso in Kumasi on Sunday hoping to catch up with the leaders and avenge the 1-0 defeat they suffered at the hands of the fifth-placed side in Ouagadougou last year.

The Blacks Stars have been hit with the news that Michael Essien of Lyon, who was named the French players' Footballer of the Year last week, is ruled out of the game with a shoulder injury.

Returning from suspension is Russia-based striker Baffour Gyan but still missing is former Bayern Munich defender Sammy Kuffuor, who has been left out because of disciplinary problems.

Meanwhile Burkina Faso coach Bernard Simondi has recalled striker Dieudonne Minoungou after a ten-month absence and France based Abdoulaye Cisse, who has missed the last four games.

The Frenchman is desperate to make an impression after losing his first game in charge 2-1 at home to Cape Verde.

"It is an obligation for us to beat Ghana," he told BBC Sport.

Ghana will be keeping an eye on events in Kinshasa where fourth-placed DR Congo, who have the same number of points as the Black Stars, play bottom team Uganda on Sunday.

The Congolese are looking stronger as coach Claude LeRoy welcomes back England-based striker Lomana LuaLua.

The Portsmouth striker missed the Simbas' last qualifier, the 1-1 home draw at home to Ghana in March, after a dispute with the country's football association.

GROUP TWO FIXTURES

Cape Verde v South Africa (Sat1600 GMT)

DR Congo v Uganda (Sun 1430 GMT)

Ghana v Burkina Faso (Sun 1500 GMT)

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