The new-look Bafana Bafana side is aiming to do what their predecessors previously have failed to achieve against Ethiopia. Bafana hopes to beat the East Africans in their back-to-back 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, but South Africa is still winless against Ethiopia in two official matches.

The first qualifier will be played in Bahir Dar on Saturday afternoon, and the return leg will be at the FNB Stadium three days later.

The two nations have only played twice in the past, both in the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. The first meeting was in Rustenburg in June 2012 where Bafana Bafana had to come from a goal down to salvage a 1-all draw against their less fancied opponents.

The draw led to coach Pitso Mosimane’s dismissal. Then Ethiopia beat Bafana Bafana 2-1 under Gordon Igesund in Addis Ababa, to end their dream of qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

“If we can win two times against Ethiopia, Ethiopia is out of the race and it depends a little bit what the scores are in the game Zimbabwe and Ghana. So if we are a little bit lucky it can happen that we are first in the group if we win two times with four points ahead of Ghana. So we are nearly the winner of the group let’s try to have that situation but if we win two times it can be so. Let’s try to do it,” says Hugo Broos, the Bafana Bafana coach.

Bafana is currently top of Group G with four points after two matches. A point on the road against Ethiopia will not be a bad result, but a win will put them in firm control with three matches remaining.

“Draw is always good when you are playing outside but at the other side if you want to be first in the group you have to win once outside and I think it’s maybe easier now to win against Ethiopia than the last game of the group in Ghana because this is very tricky if you have to win there so this is a chance for us,” Hugo Broos added.

The players are confident after a much-improved performance against group favourites Ghana at home last month.

“It’s not going to be easy but it’s achievable if we believe, and we’ve got that belief now. So we just need to go out there prepare well you know and not think we have not achieved anything. Yes, we’ve beaten Ghana, we got a point away from home but that’s not the end goal. The end goal is to see ourselves at the World Cup, hopefully the guys can be in the right frame of mind and believe that we can go away and beat them and that is the confidence and the belief that the coach has instilled in us as a team. It’s not going to be easy but we will go you know hopefully we can get the six points,” says Ronwen Williams, the Bafana Bafana captain.

“We not going to try and change anything that did help us as a country which is preparing well, which is making sure we give the respect to the opponent that they deserve. So going to the Ethiopia game, it’s going to be an away game, it’s going to be a very difficult game so we just have to prepare the way that we think helped us in the game against Ghana which is far the best performance we had as a nation,” says Siyanda Xulu, the Bafana Bafana vice-captain.

After the qualifiers against Ethiopia, Bafana Bafana will host Zimbabwe on the 11th of November. Their final qualifying match will be away against Ghana three days later.