BAFANA Bafana's meeting with Angola today will be their fourth at Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) soccer finals, making their neighbours their most frequent opponents at the continental showpiece.
The omens are good for a victory, too, as they have never lost to Palancas Negras in any of their previous six clashes, while they recorded a 1-0 victory over Angola in their second group game on the way to lifting the trophy on home soil in 1996.
Coach Gordon Igesund would be ecstatic with a similar result, though he will also know that matches between these two sides tend to be tight.
Bafana have won three of the previous six meetings in all, with the other three drawn, but they have never won by more than a single-goal margin.
Mark Williams scored the winner in the first match at the 1996 Afcon finals – a result that virtually sealed Bafana's passage into the quarterfinals.
The teams met again at the same stage of the 1998 Afcon in Burkina Faso, but played to a 0-0 draw.
It was the match famous for the Benni McCarthy red card that never was.
In a tetchy opening to the game that saw McCarthy and Mark Fish both booked inside the first eight minutes, the firebrand young striker was set to get his second yellow card just a minute later, but went down feigning injury and was stretchered off and substituted before the referee could show him a red. He would go on to score four goals against Namibia in the next pool match.
Shaun Bartlett scored the winner in a 1-0 success at Soccer City in qualifying for the 2000 Afcon finals.
The only friendly match played between the two countries finished 1-0 to Bafana at the Mmabatho Stadium in a 2002 Afcon warm-up. They met again in the Afcon finals in Ghana in 2008, drawing 1-1. Tsepo Masilela, Siphiwe Tshabalala and Lerato Chabangu are the only survivors from that team.