Bafana Bafana

Bafana coach Ntseki relishing start of SWC qualifiers

Molefi Ntseki (Gallo Images)
Molefi Ntseki (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki has no concerns over the nations South Africa have been drawn against in the qualifiers for the 2022 Soccer World Cup.

The men's national team have been drawn against Ghana, Ethiopia and neighbours Zimbabwe in Group G.

40 teams will compete in the group stages (groups A-J) with the matches starting in March 2020 until October 2021.

Group winners (10 nations) will advance to the third round which starts in November 2021.

Five nations will eventually proceed to represent Africa in Qatar.

Ntseki says that Bafana Bafana are "fully aware" of their opponents and will respect each nation.

"Every draw is a tough draw because the expectations are that all the teams that are in the top 40, they’re all playing to qualify for the World Cup," Ntseki said after the draw in Cairo, Egypt.

"We are fully aware of Ghana and their qualities coming into the qualifiers. Zimbabwe, our neighbours… we’re also fully aware of Ethiopia they have done very well in winning their prelims against Lesotho.

"All our teams in the group we’ll give them the same respect. It’ll be a tough one, but we are hopeful and looking forward to a good start in qualifying for 2022 FIFA World Cup."

South Africa are familiar with Ghana as they have been competing against the Black Stars in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers.

"I don’t think it's good or bad (being in a group with Ghana). We could’ve drawn any other team. We know what to expect from Ghana," he continued.

"They know what to expect from us. They’ve just appointed a new coach. So, I think the players will be looking to impress the coach."

He added: "Most of the players from Zimbabwe are playing in South Africa, so we are fully aware. The good thing about it is that we can profile their players week-in-week-out."

Bafana Bafana have previously played Ethiopia in the World Cup qualifiers under the tutelage of Gordon Igesund between 2012 and 2014.

Ethiopia beat South Africa in the away leg ending South Africa's hopes of taking part in the 2014 edition of the Soccer World Cup in Brazil.

Ntseki is confident that history won't repeat itself as South Africa have huge ambitions of securing a plane ticket to Qatar in 2022.

"As for Ethiopia, we are fully aware of what happened in the past, but we are currently talking of the South African national team with a different playing personality and technical team," he said.

"So, our ambition, with both respect to Zimbabwe and Ethiopia, is to qualify for the World Cup."

African 2022 World Cup qualifying, second-round, draw:

Group A

Algeria, Burkina Faso, Niger, Djibouti

Group B

Tunisia, Zambia, Mauritania, Equatorial Guinea

Group C

Nigeria, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Liberia

Group D

Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Mozambique, Malawi

Group E

Mali, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda

Group F

Egypt, Gabon, Libya, Angola

Group G

Ghana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia

Group H

Senegal, Congo Brazzaville, Namibia, Togo

Group I

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