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By Katlego Modiba

Football Journalist

OPINION: Bafana need a statement win against Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe are next on the agenda and Bafana have to negotiate their way to three points.

Bafana Bafana’s credible away 1-1 draw against Nigeria at a packed Godwill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo last Friday should be applauded. The uproar on social media about the inability to secure all three points is understandable but a point away from home is always good, provided that South Africa win their home games.

In a bid to qualify for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, the rhetoric should be that if you don’t win it then don’t lose it either. Bafana put up a brave fight following a long flight to West Africa. It’s also worth mentioning that Nigeria have some good players who ply their trade in big European leagues.

However, Bafana made them look ordinary and to some extent, I would say that Hugo Broos and his charges should have been out of sight in the first half had they taken their chances.

The Super Eagles were the better team in the second half but the ’96 AFCON champions could have also nicked it on the counter attack. Again, they were wasteful in front of goal. Zimbabwe are next on the agenda and Bafana have to negotiate their way to three points. Anything less than a victory is not good enough. It’s not only about winning, the team should also be judged by the overall performance.

This is where Bafana needs to send a strong message to the rest of the group. The only way they can do that is by obliterating the Warriors to get the qualifying campaign back on track. Zimbabwe should leave the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein battered and bruised.

Heavyweight status

Bafana should send a friendly reminder of their heavyweight status on the continent and there’s no better way of doing that than condemning Zimbabwe to a heavy defeat because it looks like the qualifying for the world cup in Canada, Mexico and the United States will go down to the wire.

At first glance Bafana and Nigeria were favourites to battle it out for top spot in group C. The group is turning out to be unpredictable following the third round of results with unfancied Lesotho on top of the pile, followed by Rwanda and Benin. Bafana are in fourth position above Nigeria with Zimbabwe bringing up the rear.

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