Bafana Bafana’s Sipho Mbule celebrates victory with Bongokuhle Hlongwane at the end of their 2022 World Cup Qualifier against Ghana at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on Saturday. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
Bafana Bafana’s Sipho Mbule celebrates victory with Bongokuhle Hlongwane at the end of their 2022 World Cup Qualifier against Ghana at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on Saturday. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Great Bafana Bafana World Cup qualifying moments through the years

By Zaahier Adams Time of article published Sep 7, 2021

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CAPE TOWN – Bafana Bafana have a chequered history in Fifa World Cup qualifiers with disappointment littered over various campaigns through the years. But on Monday evening at a desolate FNB Stadium, Hugo Broos’ team recorded a memorable victory over African superpower Ghana.

The road to Qatar 2022 may still be a long one with many more potential pot-holes to navigate on the continent, but IOL Sport’s Zaahier Adams takes a stroll down memory lane for some more sweet Bafana World Cup qualifying moments.

1. June 8, 1997: Bafana Bafana 3 (8' Mkhalele, 17' Masinga , 75' Williams) v 0 Zambia

Helman “Midnight Express” Mkhalele was on fire in this clash, firing Clive Barker’s team ahead within the first 10 minutes with a thunderous shot driven along the ground from outside the box. The early goal gave Bafana the lift they needed and Mkhalele was on hand again a few minutes later to lay off an assist for Philemon Masinga to tap home the second goal before Mark Williams put the game beyond any shadow of a doubt shortly before fulltime to record a famous 3-0 victory over Kalusha Bwalya’s men.

2. August 15,1997: Bafana Bafana 1 (14' Masinga) v 0 Congo

Phil Masinga during the 1998 World Cup qualifying football match between South Africa and Zambia at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Two months later and Bafana were back at FNB Stadium with 80 000 people, and millions more at home, spurring on the national team to qualify for their first-ever Fifa World Cup appearance. It was a winner-takes-all clash with both teams deadlocked on 10 points before the game. The late Philemon Masinga sent the entire nation into raptures with a pile-driver from distance that will remain one of the most memorable goals in Bafana’s history. Masinga’s strike was the goal that sent Bafana to France '98.

3. July 9, 2000: Zimbabwe 0 – 2 Bafana Bafana (7', 83' Buckley)

Last Friday evening’s goalless draw in Harare showed just how tough it has been for Bafana to cross their northern border, but these were different times with Delron Buckley’s brace opening the 2002 campaign on a high note.

4. July 1, 2001: Burkina Faso 1 (73' Nana) v 1 Bafana Bafana (24' Zuma)

Bafana’s road to South Korea and Japan 2002 was not as tension-filled as four years previously, with qualification secured prior to the last match against Malawi already. This was due to gaining solid results on the road, including this 1-1 draw with Burkina Faso. Evidence of how tough it actually was to pick up a point in Ouagadougou was illustrated four years later when the hosts thrashed Bafana 3-1 in the 2006 qualifiers.

5. *November, 12 2016: Bafana Bafana 2 (42' Hlatshwayo, 45' Serero) v 1 Senegal (75' N'Doye)

Thulani Serero celebrates his goal with Andile Jali of South Africa during 2018 World Cup Qualifiers match between South Africa and Senegal at Peter Mokab Stadium, November on the 12 November 2016 © Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

A clearer indication there could not be in Bafana’s fall from grace over the years that an annulled match had to be included in this list. Bafana believed they had claimed a momentous victory over the Lions of Teranga in Polokwane, but Fifa later ruled the result to be null and void and the match to be replayed after banning Ghanaian referee Joseph Lamptey for life. Fifa claimed Lamptey had wrongly awarded Bafana a penalty, which Thulani Hlatshwayo converted on the stroke of halftime. Bafana lost the replay 2-0 and finished stone last in Group D, failing to qualify for Russia 2018.

@ZaahierAdams

IOL Sport

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