Better late than never, Hugo Broos has acknowledged that Bafana Bafana have to avoid defeat against Ghana on Sunday to make it into the final qualifying round for the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar.
It would have surely been better if Broos and his side had known ahead of their 1-0 win over Zimbabwe on Thursday, that goals were a priority in that match, in that just one more strike at FNB Stadium would mean Bafana could afford to lose by a one goal margin to Ghana in the Cape Coast and still progress.
But at least we will now avoid a similar scenario to 2011, when Bafana’s players went on a celebratory dance at Mbombela Stadium, mistakenly believing they had qualified for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.
“It was a bit confusing about the result tomorrow and who will be in the next round,” said Broos, pointing out that Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac had made a similar mistake after his side’s 1-1 draw with Ethiopia on Thursday.
“I did my homework and I know (now) that tomorrow a win for Ghana will be enough for them to be in the next round.
“For us, we have to avoid defeat. We know we are playing a strong team, with players in Europe, and with the experience they have. We don’t have that, we are a new team, a young team, but a team full of ambition.”
“We didn’t play so well on Thursday (against Zimbabwe) and it is a pity. If we had played at our level, maybe we could have scored more goals, and it would have been more difficult for Ghana. But I also think because we didn’t play so well … the boys will be there more on Sunday and ambitious to show something. We will do everything to qualify for the next round.”
Whatever the foibles of Thursday, meanwhile, Bafana have certainly exceeded expectations by leading the Black Stars by three points heading in to Sunday’s final Group G qualifier.
“(Before the first game of the group) nobody knew … that going into the last game South Africa would be three points ahead of Ghana. So we have done very well. If we do not qualify it will ber a disappointment, but no more than that. We have run a very good race, we only lost two points, and that was in the first (Group G) game against Zimbabwe. I didn’t know the team then and they didn’t know me,” added the Bafana head coach, who went on to pile the pressure on Rajevac’s Ghana.
“I think for Ghana they have to be in the next round. They have nearly always been in World Cups (Ghana did not qualify for Russia 2018, but did make it to the three previous finals), they are a team with much experience and for them it is a bigger problem if they are not in the next round. The pressure is on them.”