Wednesday Nov 10, 2021. 16:00
South Africa’s 2022 World Cup Qualification hopes may hinge on a clash with Group G rivals and regional neighbours Zimbabwe, set for the FNB Stadium in Soweto on Thursday 11 November 2021, kick-off at 21:00 CAT.
SA picked up back-to-back wins over Ethiopia in October to remain at the top of the log, though Ghana are just one point behind and will be in action earlier the same day at the nearby Orlando Stadium, as they take on the Walia Ibex (who have been forced to ‘host’ in Soweto due to their home stadiums being deemed substandard by CAF).
With the Black Stars favourites to win their match, Bafana Bafana will likely be playing to try and reclaim top spot and ensure they take a points advantage into their showdown with Ghana in Cape Coast on the evening of Sunday 14 November.
“We have to focus on the fact that we have to win [the first match against Zimbabwe],” said SA coach Hugo Broos. “If we don’t win the game, what importance can the game in Ghana have? We need to be there with one point ahead, maybe more. Ghana have the pressure to win against us, so we have the pressure to win against Zimbabwe.”
The Warriors, meanwhile, were beaten home and away by Ghana in the last block of games in October, with the results ruling them out of contention.
Coach Norman Mapeza has made major changes in his squad selection, explaining that his calls for the likes of Tawanda Maswanhise and Jonah Fabisch have been made with one eye on the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations.
“It’s all about assessment and building a team for the AFCON tournament next year. We need to restore our pride and make Warriors fans believe in our national team again,” said Mapeza.
“We also need to start building a team for the future. That is why we have called in some local players, young players and some senior players for these last two World Cup qualifiers.”
South Africa and Zimbabwe have met in 16 matches dating back to 1992. Bafana Bafana have claimed seven wins compared to six for the Warriors, while three games have been drawn. The teams met on Matchday 1 back in September and played out a 0-0 draw at the National Sports Stadium in Harare.