22 January 2020 — Bafana Bafana head coach Molefi Ntseki says they have been drawn in a tough Group C which comprises Ghana, Ethiopia and neighbours Zimbabwe.
South Africa discovered their opponents for the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup group phase qualifiers at the draw held in Cairo, Egypt last night (Tuesday, 21 January).
Bafana Bafana will come face to face with Ghana again, who they are currently contesting a 2021 Africa Cup of Nations spot with after the two were drawn against each other in that competition.
The World Cup qualifiers kickoff in October and will run until November 2021 – only the group winners will proceed to the final round of qualifying where the 10 winners will pitted against each other on a home and away basis to determine the five that will represent African continent in Qatar.
South Africa missed out on the Brazil 2014 and Russia 2018 tournaments – their last qualification was on home soil in 2010.
The World Cup draw ceremony took place at The Nile Ritz-Carlton, Ntseki, along with Bafana Bafana Team Manager Levy Ramajoe, in attendance.
SAFA Media spoke to the head coach after the draw, and this is what he had to say:
THOUGHTS ON THE DRAW:
Every draw is a tough draw because the expectation is that every team in the Top 40 is playing to qualify for the five spots in the World Cup. We are full aware of the qualities of Ghana coming into the qualifiers, we are aware of our neighbours Zimbabwe and also of Ethiopia, who did well to win their pre-liminary match against Lesotho to be in the draw. So all the teams in our group will be given the same respect because they deserve to be here. It will be a tough one but we are looking forward to a good start in qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
ON DRAWING GHANA AGAIN:
Being drawn with Ghana again is neither good nor bad because in all honestly we could have been drawn with any other team – Ghana was in the top 10 and we were bound to be drawn with any of those teams in that pot. We know what to expect from them, they know what to expect from us. They have just appointed a new coach and the players will be looking to impress him, but the most important thing is that we are going to play three matches against them. We are left with one fixture in the AFCON 2021 qualifiers, and we will also play another two in the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers, so it will be a very interesting encounter against the West Africans. The last time they took us to Cape Coast, which was very difficult for us in terms of travelling, and the recovery for our players, but this time we will go into the match knowing the conditions irrespective of where they take us to in Ghana. It will be a very interesting match considering the quality of players that Ghana has and the qualify that we have.
ON ZIMBABWE AND ETHIOPIA:
Here we are talking national team football, not club football because most of the Zimbabwe players ply their trade in South Africa, we are fully aware of that. The good side to that is we can profile their players week in week out, and they also know our players very well. As for Ethiopia, we are also aware of the upset they caused when they defeated Bafana Bafana under Gordon Igesund, but we are now talking current circumstances with a different technical team and different playing personnel, so our ambition, with due respect to Zimbabwe and Ethiopia, is to qualify for the World Cup. And it is not because they are our neighbours or they have players playing in our domestic league, but it is for us to do our best whenever we are to play against them because we know that to qualify for the World Cup you have to beat your opponents, and you have to bring your A game, so we are looking forward to facing them both and we will give them the respect they deserve.
QATAR 2022 FIFA WC DRAW RESULTS:
Algeria, Burkina Faso, Niger, Djibouti
Tunisia, Zambia, Mauritania, Equatorial Guinea
Nigeria, Cape Verde Islands, Central African Republic, Liberia
Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Mozambique, Malawi
Mali, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda
Egypt, Gabon, Libya, Angola
Ghana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia
Senegal, Congo, Namibia, Togo
Morocco, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Sudan
Congo DR, Benin, Madagascar, Tanzania
GROUP C – 2021 AFCON QUALIFIERS:
23 – 31 March 20:
AFCON 2021, Match Day 3 & 4
Ghana vs Sudan
South Africa vs Sao Tome e Principe
Sudan vs Ghana
Sao Tome e Principe vs South Africa
1 – 9 June 20:
AFCON 2021, MD 5
South Africa vs Ghana
Sao Tome e Principe vs Sudan
31 Aug – 8 Sep 20:
AFCON 2021, MD 6
Sudan vs South Africa
Ghana vs Sao Tome e Principe
GROUP G – QATAR 2022 FIFA WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS:
5 – 13 Oct 20:
FIFA WC 2022 – MD 1
9 – 17 Nov 20:
FIFA WC 2022 – MD 2
22 – 30 Mar 21:
FIFA WC 2022 – MD 3 & 4
30 Aug – 7 Sep 21:
FIFA WC 2022 – MD 5
4 – 12 Oct 21:
FIFA WC 2022 – MD 6
8 – 16 Nov 21:
FIFA WC 2022, Knock-out Matches – TOP TEN