Bafana Bafana head coach Hugo Broos believes the fact that there are still only five places for African teams at a Fifa World Cup finals is not fair, and that it is far easier for good European teams to qualify for the competition.
In the race for a place at Qatar 2022, Bafana are top of World Cup qualifying Group G, ahead of their final two group stage qualifiers against Zimbabwe at home and Ghana away next month. Even if Bafana top the group, however, they will then have to play-off home and away against another group winner for one of five places in Qatar, and their current world ranking is likely to give them an extremely tricky play-off draw.
Europe leads the way for places given by Fifa at a World Cup finals, with 13, set to increase to 16 in 2026. Africa is set to have nine teams at the 2026 World Cup finals in the USA, Canada and Mexico, with the overall participation increased from 32 to 48 countries.
Broos sees this as a positive change, though it does not change his current situation with South Africa. Some may feel Bafana topping a group ahead of Ghana should be enough to get them to Qatar, never mind having to win a play-off against a side like Algeria or Nigeria.
“Not at all,” said Broos when asked if he thought the current situation was just.
“I know it, because I have already been with Cameroon (Broos won the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations with the Indomitable Lions, but failed to qualify them for the 2018 Fifa World Cup finals). In the qualifiers in Africa, you have 40 countries to vie for ten first places (in the group stages). Then there is another round, and two games, and only five countries go to Qatar.
“It is not fair, it is easier for good teams in Europe to qualify for the World Cup than (good teams) in Africa. In Africa you have Ghana, Cameroon, Nigeria, Algeria, Senegal, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt. You already have eight good teams there! I hope for 2026 this will change … it is a pity they have waited so long to do that, because Africa deserve more teams.”