Mark Gleeson

Nasty surprise awaits Bafana

2009-12-03 09:05
Sport24 columnist Mark Gleeson (File)
Mark Gleeson

Wednesday’s announcements of the seedings for the 2010 Soccer World Cup draw leaves Bafana Bafana with the real possibility of a nasty surprise in their opening round group.

As one of the eight seeds, the host country missed out on seven heavyweights in their opening round group.

But with both France and Portugal unseeded, the chance that one of the two formidable European outsiders could well land up in the group with our national side when the draw is conducted on Friday.

South Africa will not play any of Argentina, Brazil, England, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain, who will each head one of the eight groups.

Bafana also cannot play any country the same continent - eliminating the other five African countries.

The group then will be made up of Bafana, one European country, one team from either Asia, Oceania or the CONCACAF zone (Central and North America and the Caribbean zone) and one of three South American countries – Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay.

The worst case scenario would be France, Chile and the USA. Another unwelcome combination is Carlos Queiroz’s Portugal, Paraguay and Australia or Mexico.

But there is more chance that South Africa might get a soft start, as was the case at the Confederations Cup in June, although they came close to botching that up.

A dream draw would be Honduras, North Korea or New Zealand; Uruguay (who are the weakest of the South Americans) and Slovakia or Greece.

I’m going with North Korea, Uruguay and Slovakia as the three sides in a group designed to get or team through to the knockout phase.

For the opening match on June 11, there are 19 possible opponents for South Africa. South Africa, as host nation, is placed in Group A and will play its three opening round group games at Soccer City, Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria and the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein.

Who do you think we will have in our group?

Here are the pot allocations:

Pot 1: South Africa (Group A), Argentina, Brazil, England, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain
Pot 2: Australia, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Honduras, Mexico, USA, New Zealand
Pot 3: Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay
Pot 4: Denmark, France, Greece, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland

Mark Gleeson is a respected television commentator and Editorial Director of Mzanzi Football.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

Read more on:    2010 soccer world cup

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