South African Football Association president Danny Jordaan has described the two upcoming Fifa World Cup qualifiers against Ethiopia as two of the most important in the history of Bafana Bafana.
Hugo Broos’ Bafana take on Ethiopia in back-to-back Group G matches on Saturday in Bahir Dar, and on Tuesday at FNB Stadium.
Bafana have four points from their first two games, meaning two wins against Ethiopia will put them in an excellent position to qualify for the 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifying play-offs as Group G winners.
This, presumably, is why Jordaan is so excited about the Ethiopia games, with Bafana having failed to qualify for a Fifa World Cup finals since Carlos Queiroz got the team to the 2002 edition in Japan and South Korea (Bafana did play in the 2010 Fifa World Cup finals, but qualified automatically as hosts).
“These two matches against Ethiopia are not just two decisive qualification matches but probably two of the most important matches in the long history of Bafana,” said Jordaan.
Ethiopia have moved the game to Bahir Dar, which is about 500kms north of the capital Addis Ababa, and Jordaan says that the South African Football Association have spared no expense in making sure Bafana can get to and from the more remote Ethiopian region as quickly as possible.
“We though it was very important to give the team maximum support and get them in and out and back in South Africa, they are playing two matches within days (of each other).
“They will be leaving South Africa on a charter plane, play the match and come back immediately to South Africa. We have had a chat with the players and assured them of our full support.”
The return match at FNB Stadium will see supporters allowed for the first time since the country first went into lockdown because of the coronavirus.
“It is important we observe all regulations and are in full compliance with the requirements as set out by the department of health and government,” said Jordaan.
Only fully vaccinated supporters will be allowed into the ground.
“They (government) said by Thursday they would make an announcement of how you can get proof of vaccination digitally, so when you buy a ticket you are able to show on your phone (that you have been vaccinated).”