Bafana chase key home win against Zimbabwe

football09 June 2024 11:00| © Backpage TXT

South Africa will chase a key home win in the 2026 Fifa World Cup Qualifiers when they host Zimbabwe at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein on Tuesday evening. 

Kick-off is at 18:00 CAT.

South Africa – who will be playing in Bloemfontein for the first time since 2010 – recorded a 1-1 draw away to Nigeria in Uyo on Friday night to be placed fourth on the log, but just one point off the top. For what is expected to be their most challenging away game of Group C, it’s a solid result, and one coach Hugo Broos was relatively happy with.

“First of all I think the result of a draw is correct, we had our chances and Nigeria had their chances,” said the Belgian, who believes a point away to the Super Eagles is valuable, but does not mean they should underestimate the challenge of so-called ‘smaller’ nations.

“Normally when you see the draw you know that Nigeria is going to be the opponent to be first in the group. When you come here you hope to have a minimum one point or not to lose the match which was important for us.

“I said before the match that pressure was on Nigeria because they have three successive draws and you know in qualifiers you need to win your home games. For us we are happy with the point.

“Our group is not of top countries but it is very tricky, look at the results after three games and it is unbelievable. This is something that was the biggest change at Afcon, where small countries progressed.”

Group C is wide open, with just three points separating (surprise) leaders Lesotho (5 points) from bottom-of-the-log Zimbabwe (two points). However, the Warriors will be enormously frustrated at having lost 2-0 at ‘home’ to Lesotho in Johannesburg on Friday.

“I am very disappointed with the result. The two goals that we conceded in the first half, I’m not happy at all because they were both due to defensive errors,” admitted coach Jairo Tapera.

“My boys played well in the second half and I am very happy with that performance. But it’s a game of football, we needed to respond and win the match.

“I am not disrespecting Lesotho, but we were supposed to beat them given what we have in terms of personnel as compared to them.”

Bouncing back will be no easy task for Zimbabwe, they very often raise their game whenever they come up against their neighbours.

In head-to-head stats, South Africa and Zimbabwe have met in 17 previous matches, dating back as far as 1992. Both Bafana Bafana and the Warriors have claimed seven wins, while three games have been drawn.

The teams last met in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, playing to a 0-0 draw in Harare in September 2021, before South Africa won 1-0 in the return game in Johannesburg in November of the same year.