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5 Reasons Why Bafana Bafana Will Beat Zimbabwe

Mothobi Mvala and Khama Billiat

In-form Bafana Bafana will take on Zimbabwe in their last home game of the Qatar World Cup Qualifiers before heading to face the Black Stars of Ghana as they need four points from the two remaining fixtures to progress.

South Africa kicked off their World Cup qualifying campaign with an away match against neighbours Zimbabwe, which was Hugo Broos’ first match in charge. The game ended in a goalless draw but the promising signs could not be ignored as the young Bafana Bafana team showed hunger and willingness to win. The boys dominated the match against Zim, but were unlucky in the final third.

The second match was against group favourites Ghana who were led by former Swansea star Andrew Ayew. Broos’ men needed a solitary goal from Maritzburg United’s Bongokuhle Hlongwane. Although the final score was 1-0, many would agree that the scoreline flattered the Ghanaians as it was indeed a comfortable win for South Africa.

With four points after two games, next up was Ethiopia – a country that wounded us the last time we met them in a World Cup qualifier. Broos’ men stood firm to the task and won both legs (away and home) 3-1 and 1-0 respectively. 

Now that South Africa are top of their group, needing just four points to progress to the next round, we take you through five reasons why Bafana Bafana will get the job done against Zimbabwe in comfortable fashion on Thursday.

1. Dolly and Tau reunion 

Zimbabwe will have to deal with the formidable partnership of South Africa’s two left-footed sensations of Keagan Dolly and Percy Tau. The two forwards are familiar with each other, having played together at Mamelodi Sundowns where they helped the Chloorkop side to their first ever continental crown when they won the CAF Champions League in 2016. The duo come into this match with plenty of experience, which includes playing in the French Ligue 1 and English Premier League, while Tau has also graced the UEFA Champions League and Europa League. 

Dolly has been one of the best players in the PSL this season and Tau has blended well under Pitso Mosimane at Al Ahly. The dynamic duo should wreak havoc on the Zimbabwean defence. 

2. The Fans are back

After 18 months of not having fans in a football match in South Africa, the mother board of South African football (SAFA) finally gave us the green light as we saw 2000 spectators attending the match against Ethiopia. 

It was great, the players were happy and motivated. The kind of positive energy from the supporters really inspired our boys and we will be hoping for the same come Thursday. 

3. Zimbabwe missing key players

Zimbabwe are the only team without a win in this group. The Warriors have been terrible in these qualifiers and to make matters worse, they will be without some key players in this match. Team captain and former Kaizer Chiefs star Knowledge Musona has been ruled out due to injury, which is a major blow for Norman Mapeza’s boys, but it doesn’t end there as another former Chiefs player in Teenage Hadebe will also miss the tie. Other notable players that won’t feature are French-based midfielder Marshall Munetsi and Spain-based goalkeeper Martin Mapisa.

4. Zim’s weak goalkeeping department

Zimbabwe have been tinkering with their goalkeeping department throughout the qualifiers with Washington Arubi and 31-year-old Talbert Shumba who plays for Chapungu United in the Zimbabwean league. Shambu made a huge blunder against Ghana which ended up costing the team and ensured their third defeat. It will be interesting to see who will be between the sticks for the clash against Bafana. But either way, for me, Bafana will have a strong chance against any of the two and should take full advantage. 

5. Positive energy around Bafana Bafana

One thing that stands out for most people about this current Bafana Bafana team is the mood in the camp and from the supporters. For once in a very long time, the fans are united and all share the same goal of wanting Bafana to win. The people seem to be interested again in the national team. Players want to be part of the team and whoever gets selected is giving 100 percent as competition is tight. With so much hunger in the team, one can only expect positive results when playing at home, especially against a team that has so many problems like Zimbabwe. 

Written by Banele Pikwa