Bafana coach upbeat following 2022 World Cup qualifiers draw

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Bafana Bafana have been handed a fairly balanced draw for the second round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers following the draw which was held in Cairo, Egypt on Tuesday night.

The South African men’s senior national football team have been pitted against neighbours Zimbabwe, East African side Ethiopia and West African giants Ghana in Group G.

There are 10 groups of four and only group winners proceed to the play-offs which will be played over two legs and the five winners will represent Africa in Qatar.

Bafana were on the second spot in the seeding and head coach Molefi Ntseki believes that a passage to the play-offs is possible in this group.

The World Cup qualifiers will start in October 2020 following the completion of the Afcon qualifiers, which will resume in March.

History shows that Bafana have a poor record against Ghana in the qualifiers. They failed to qualify to the 2006 World Cup in Germany after losing both games against the Black Stars.

They have also started poorly in the current 2021 African Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers against Ghana losing 2-0 away. Ntseki doesn’t see this as a bad draw.

The two games against the Zimbabwean Warriors will be the Limpopo river derbies as the two teams boast players who know each other very well, competing weekly against each other in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) and some are teammates.

Ethiopia are also no pushovers having toppled Bafana in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers. But Ntseki still sees some advantages in this.

Bafana last played in the World Cup in 2010 when SA hosted the tournament. They last went to the big spectacle through the qualifiers in South Korea and Japan in 2002 (they also went to the 1998 tournament in France).

Ghana have been to the 2006, 2010 and 2014 World Cups whilst Zimbabwe and Ethiopia are searching for their maiden World Cup appearance. – Report by Velile Mnyandu