Cape Town - Bafana Bafana have been drawn against Cameroon, Gambia and Mauritania in Group M of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Read: Bafana draw Cameroon in AFCON
The tournament will be held in Gabon after a decision was taken by the CAF Congress that saw the Central African country beat Ghana and Algeria to the vote to host the 31st edition of CAF’s premier event.
Bafana Bafana were among 52 countries that went into the hat in which only the group winners will progress to the AFCON finals as well as the two best-placed runners-up and the host nation.
The first round of qualifying fixtures will take place from June 8-16.
Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba said he was happy with the draw, but added that it would not be a walk in the park.
“Some may see this as a relatively easy group - on paper it is but on the field it is a different story altogether,” Mashaba told safa.net.
“I have said before that there are no easy matches in international football anymore; football has changed and every country will give it a go.
“While we may know much about Cameroon, not much is said about Gambia and Mauritania, and those could be our banana peels.
“We have to do what we did during the 2015 qualifiers; be brave, show no respect but above all, prepare thoroughly and take nothing for granted.
“I am very happy with the draw and closer to the time we will reveal our plans as to how we will tackle the qualifiers. We did well in the 2015 qualifiers but that is all in the past and the important thing is maintain the standard we set by qualifying outright.”
South Africa is currently ranked 55th position on the FIFA world rankings, Cameroon 49th (10th on the continent), Mauritania 190th (51st on the continent) and Gambia is 168th (46th on the continent).
Bafana Bafana will open their 2017 AFCON qualifying account against Gambia at home on the weekend of June, 12, 13, 14 this year.
In the last qualifier, South Africa will host Mauritania on the weekend of September, 2, 3, 4, 2016.
Bafana Bafana’s fixtures:
South Africa vs Gambia (June, 12, 13, 14, 2015)
Mauritania vs South Africa (September, 4, 5, 6, 2015)
Cameroon vs South Africa (March, 23, 24, 25, 26, 2016)
South Africa vs Cameroon (March, 26, 27, 28, 29, 2016)
Gambia vs South Africa (June, 3, 4, 5 2016)
South Africa vs Mauritania (September, 2, 3, 4, 2016)