Safa chief believes Bafana Bafana need all their tried and tested players for Afcon qualifiers
JOHANNESBURG - South African Football Association president Danny Jordaan cut a cautious figure ahead of the last round of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, suggesting Bafana Bafana might need seasoned-campaigners to defeat Sudan away.
The South Africans are eyeing their successive qualification for the continental showpiece as they are second in Group C with nine points – the same number of points as leaders Ghana. But should they bag three points in the last two matches they’ll all but book their spot in the finals in 2022.
The route to get there is, however, a tricky one. Bafana will host the highest ranked side in the group Ghana, who defeated them away, at home in the penultimate round on March 25. And five days later they’ll be away to thirdplaced Sudan in the final round.
Having already defeated Sudan in the first leg, many would expect Bafana to complete a double over the North-East Africans. But after a recent shock win over Ghana at home, Sudan showed that they are no pushovers in their backyard.
After all, their six points in the group came after wins at home, which include the 4-0 win over Sao Tome and Principe in the first round. But Jordaan says they are aware of Sudan’s prowess at home, heading into the exciting 2021 calendar year.
“It’s just common sense that if you look at the qualification in all the groups, 2021 is going to be an interesting year,” said Jordaan, highlighting some of the major upsets that have been caused by teams considered ‘minnows’ against powerhouses in the qualifiers.
“We are in a very tough group, make no mistake. Sudan has won all their matches at home. Therefore, it’s going to be a huge test for us and the national team. But we were there before, in Sudan, and we beat them 3-0 at home.”
Bafana are fresh from back-to-back wins over Sao Tome, who are ranked 182 by Fifa. But coach Molefi Ntseki knows that not all is well with his team, having shown their prowess in the second half. Jordaan, though, has suggested what could be the perfect recipe against Sudan.
“Of course, the changes in the team and experience the coach needs is something that he must apply his mind to. And (he has to) look at other teams who are saying they need seasoned, experienced players to go and play outside their own country,” said Jordaan.
Jordaan, 69, who was speaking at the unveiling of Safa’s new ethics committee led by judge Sisi Khampepe, said it’s mandatory for all the national teams to qualify for major tournaments during every calendar year.
Safa are back from a fruitful week after Bafana's wins in the Afcon qualifiers and Banyana Banyana triumph in the Cosafa Championships – as they recorded their fourth successive title after the 2-1 win over Botswana in the final in Port Elizabeth.
Reports were rife this week that the senior women’s national team would not be paid for taking part in the tournament. But acting Safa CEO Tebogo Motlantle has laid those allegations to rest, saying Banyana winnings will be announced during the National Women’s League award ceremony next Friday.
“As you all know that we’ve paid the prize money for the National Women’s League (which was won by Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies Team). We’ll be awarding them by giving out the trophy and medals,” Motlanthe said.
“In that ceremony, we’ll also be announcing what Banyana players will be getting for having won the Cosafa. So this information that has been spread that Banyana are not getting a cent from playing in the tournament’ is untrue.”