Head coach of South Africa's Bafana Bafana, Molefi Ntseki has cautioned his side to beat Ghana or forget about qualifying to the 2022 FIFA World cup in Qatar.
“In order for us to qualify for the World Cup, we have to beat the best", Ntseki said in his reaction to his team’s draw in the Fifa World Cup qualifiers.
It’s almost been 17 years since Bafana qualified for the global showpiece via a successful qualification process, having competed in the 2010 spectacle as hosts.
And that can be prolonged by another four or more year unless the Bafana Bafana are able to overcome Ghana, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia to top group G in second Qualifying rounds.
“We went to the draw expecting to draw a top 40 or top 10 team, and we got Ghana, whom we have to play against in a round robin format that sees us playing them four times (with three matches remaining after Bafana lost 2-0 to the West Africans in the first Afcon qualifier),” Ntseki said.
“The remaining matches will be tough because we have to plan well for each and every game. Ghana being ranked sixth in Africa, we are fully aware that to qualify for the World Cup, we have to beat the best.”
Ntseki, however, also knows only too well it would be naïve to overlook the threats also posed by The Warriors and the Walias.
The Zimbabweans have most of their internationals plying their trade in the PSL, while Ethiopia were the same opposition that denied South Africa their ticket to the 2014 global showpiece after finishing top of the group in the second round of the penultimate round of the qualifiers.
Meanwhile, with the Afcon qualifiers set to conclude in August before the World Cup qualifiers get underway in October, Ntseki says assembling the best team for the continental qualifiers will set a good foundation for their aspirations going forward.
“I just hope our players are all injury free because we need them all for the games against Sao Tome, Ghana and Sudan (in the Afcon qualifiers). We can have the best team if we have the best players available."