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OPINION: Bafana poised to survive 'group of death'

Considering Bafana's excellent record against their group opponents at Afcon, I predict they will make it out of Group C in the 2015 African Cup of Nations (Afcon).

Past results don't always dictate the outcome of a football match, but as the saying goes: "history has a way of repeating itself".

As the South African team heads into Monday night's so-called 'Group of Death' fixtures of the tournament, statistics should be taken into account.

Group C will get underway in Mongomo, Equatorial Guinea, with Senegal's 'Lions of Teranga' taking on the 'Black Stars' of Ghana at 6pm on Monday.

Senegal, which has never lifted the coveted trophy, will be looking to cause an upset against one of the most celebrated teams on the continent and the four-time champions.

In the five Afcon meetings between the two sides, the Black Stars have never suffered defeat, winning four and drawing one, with their last encounter resulting in a 1-0 win for Ghana in 2006.

The Senegalese have more than enough fire power in their artillery to humble the Ghanaians, with the likes of Papiss Cisse, Sadio Mane and Mame Biram Diouf, who all ply their trade in the English Premier League.

In the 9pm kickoff on Monday, South Africa will come to a standstill as their pride and joy take to the field to do what many football fans have deemed impossible, which is to beat Africa's top-ranked side, Algeria.

Since Shakes Mashaba took over the head coach position from Gordon Igesund in September, the national team has yet to lose a single game.

They are currently on a 10-game unbeaten streak, having out-muscled the likes of 2012 African champions Zambia, the 1992 victors Cote d'Ivoire and the continent's defending champions Nigeria.

Bafana qualified unbeaten in their Afcon qualifiers, producing a shock as they denied continental giant Nigeria a place in the tournament they won two years ago.

They will take some confidence in knowing that they have never lost against Algeria in any competitive match, with one victory and two draws.

The current crop of Bafana players have restored pride in the nation and a great deal of belief that they can achieve the unthinkable.

It will prove to be a stern test against an Algerian outfit that won five of its six qualifying matches, reached the knockout stages of the 2014 Fifa World Cup for the first time in its history and that boasts a host of players who are based in the finest clubs in Europe.

Morena Mothupi is an EWN Sport reporter and will be keeping a close eye on #AFCON2015. Follow him on Twitter @_Mrena.

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