last two draws pitting Bafana Bafana with Nigeria and then Egypt, there has
been a dramatic turn of fortune for the national side.
World Cup draw in Rio de Janeiro produced an early Christmas present for the
country as it was handed the softest of opponents for the group phase next
Bafana were pooled with Botswana, the Central African Republic and the winner
of a preliminary round tie between Ethiopia and Somalia, that will be played in
It is arguably
the best combination that could possibly have come out of the pots for Pitso
Mosimane, who went to Rio’s Marina do Glorio for the draw. He must have fought
the temptation to punch the air in delight.
to FIFA.com, Mosimane had this to say to
reporters in Brazil after the draw: “For sure it’s kind of a good group for us.
I’m sure the other teams are not happy to have us in the group. It will be
‘Kind of a
good group?’ Geez it’s happy days! We’ve got lumped with a bunch of minnows in
the most important competition in world football.
might have qualified for the African Nations Cup finals for the first time but
they are no threat. The Central African Republic have only had one major win in
football, fortuitously for them recently enough to rise them far enough in the
rankings to miss the list of bottom placed teams and therefore November’s first
and Somalia did not make the cut and must play off in November. Somalia cannot
play at home because of their civil war so it is likely they’ll have just one
game with their neighbours. Ethiopia should win, with some comfort.
player is Fikru Tefera, released by SuperSport United at the end of last season
because he was not good enough for the Premier Soccer League.
best players are in the PSL and as a result their side has come on in leaps and
bounds recently. The Zebras have shocked even themselves with their rapid
progress from obscurity. They have qualified for the African Nations Cup finals
already, the first side to do so. But it is their first time too and does not
make them an overnight force.
It is not
beyond Bafana Bafana’s ability to win all six games in the group, both home and
away, rack up a 100 percent record and be well placed to do the business in the
real qualifiers which come in the final round, over two legs against a fellow
was looking for Santa Claus at the weekend, he was obviously in Brazil.Mark Gleeson is a respected television commentator and Editorial Director of Mzanzi Football.
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