Share this article:
CAPE TOWN – Bafana Bafana’s bid to qualify for their first Fifa World Cup appearance since hosting the global showpiece in 2010 gets underway this week.
IOL Sport’s Zaahier Adams explains the extensive process that Hugo Broos’s team needs to undergo in their bid to be on the plane to Qatar next year.
At what stage are Bafana?
Bafana are in the second round of qualification for Qatar 2022. They progressed to this stage by virtue of being ranked 13th on the African continent. The top 26 ranked African teams earned a straight passage to the second round. Teams ranked from 26 – 54, which included Zimbabwe, had to navigate through a first round of home and away matches.
How does it all work?
There are 40 teams (ranked 1–26 and 14 first-round winners) that are divided into 10 groups of four teams to play home-and-away round-robin matches. The 10 group winners then advance to the third round, where they will play home-and-away over two legs. The five winners qualify for the World Cup.
Who’s in Bafana’s group?
Bafana were drawn in Group G. They were drawn alongside Ghana (7th), Zimbabwe (27) and Ethiopia (44). Ghana’s Black Stars are the favourites to emerge from Group G. *Current Fifa African rankings in brackets.
The national team will play all their home matches at the FNB Stadium, the venue that hosted the opening and final game of the 2010 Fifa World Cup. Their first fixture is against southern African neighbours Zimbabwe at the National Sports Stadium in Harare on Friday, 3 September. They return home to face Ghana at the FNB Stadium on Monday, 6 September. All matches will be played in empty stadiums due to the current Covid-19 guidelines.
10 October 2021: South Africa v Ethiopia
11 October 2021: South Africa v Zimbabwe
14 October: Ghana v South Africa
Bafana’s finals history
Bafana have made three previous Fifa World Cup appearances. The national team did not progress past the first round in France 1998 and South Korea and Japan 2002. South Africa also memorably hosted the tournament in 2010 – Bafana’s last appearance at the World Cup – but again failed to advance to the knockout stages.