Tue. Nov 24th, 2020

World Cup Qualifying: This time Bafana Bafana will be better prepared for Ghana – Ntseki

3 min read

The 50-year-old mentor, who has been in charge of the team since August 2019, is fully aware of what their group rivals are capable of

South Africa head coach Molefi Ntseki feels that they have been handed a tough draw in the second round of 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifying.

Bafana Bafana were pitted against Ghana‘s Black Stars, the Warriors of Zimbabwe and Ethiopia’s Walia Ibex in Group G on Tuesday evening.

Only the group winners will advance to the final round of qualifying and Ntseki is keen to guide Bafana to their fourth World Cup finals.

“Every draw is a tough draw because the expectation is that all the teams in the top 40 (second round) are playing to qualify for the World Cup. So, we are fully aware of Ghana and their qualities coming into the qualifiers. We are fully aware of Zimbabwe, our neighbours,” Ntseki told the media.

“We are also fully aware of Ethiopia (and) that they have done very well in winning their preliminary tie against Lesotho to be in the top 40.

“So all the teams which are in the group we will give them the same respect because they deserve to be at this stage of the qualifiers. It will be a tough one, but we are hopeful and we are looking forward to a good start in qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.”

Bafana will take on Ghana having lost to the Black Stars away in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers late last year.

“I don’t think it’s good or bad, but it’s all about the fixtures because we could have drawn any other team because Ghana was in the top 10. We had to draw any team in the top 10. So, we know what to expect from Ghana and they know what to expect from us,” he continued.

“They have just appointed a new coach in Charles [Akonnor], so the team will be looking forward to impressing the coach.

“But the important thing is that we are going to play three games against Ghana. We are left with one match in the Afcon qualifiers and we are now going to play two games in the World Cup qualifiers.

“So, it will be a very interesting encounter against Ghana. The last time they took us to Cape Coast which was difficult for us when it comes to travelling and player recovery.

“This time we will go into this match knowing the conditions if they do take us to any other venue in Ghana.

“But it will be very interesting if you look at the quality players that Ghana have and the quality players that we have. It will be a very interesting fixture whenever we play against Ghana.”

However, Ntseki warned about his side not to underestimate Zimbabwe, who have many players plying their trade in the PSL, while Ethiopia stunned Bafana during the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.

“We are talking of a South African national team here. We are not talking about club football because most of the Zimbabwean players are playing in South Africa. The good thing is that we can profile their players week in and week out and they also know our players playing in the league,” he explained.

“As for Ethiopia, we are fully aware of what happened in the past, but were are talking about the current national team with different playing personnel and different technical team.

“So, our ambition with respect to both Ethiopia and Zimbabwe is to qualify for the World Cup. It is not only about them being our neighbours or them having players playing in the PSL.

“It is for us to do our best whenever we are playing against those teams because we know for the fact that to qualify we have to beat your opponents and we need to bring our A-game.

“So, we are looking to play Zimbabwe in Zimbabwe and at home and the same with Ethiopia. Like I said we will give both teams the respect they deserve.”

The second round qualifiers are scheduled to start in October this year and they will come to end in October 2021.

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