The Bafana Bafana versus Ghana rivalry will continue well into the road to the 2022 World Cup after the two countries were pitted against each other during the draw for the group phase of the qualifying campaign to the Qatar global championship.
As fate would have it, South Africa found themselves in Group G with the Black Stars, as well as other familiar foes Zimbabwe and Ethiopia.
The draw that was conducted in Cairo, Egypt on Tuesday night comes at the time when Bafana and Ghana are already slugging it out in the 2021 Afcon qualifiers.
Ghana beat South Africa 2-0 in the Cape Coast in November last year and the west Africans have assumed an early lead in their group.
The two nations are scheduled to meet for the second leg that Bafana will host in June, while their exact date in their quest for World Cup qualification is yet to be determined.
It is not the first time that the two nations will battle for a global championship slot after Ghana shattered Bafana’s dream ahead of the 2006 showpiece in Germany.
South Africa head coach Molefi Ntseki, who attended the draw in Cairo, warned against undermining their opponents.
“We’ll give all the teams in our group the same respect because they deserve to be at this stage of the qualifiers. Every draw is a tough draw because the expectation is that all the teams that are in the top 40 are all playing to qualify for the World Cup.
“So we are fully aware of Ghana, Zimbabwe our neighbours and we are also fully aware of Ethiopia’s [capabilities],” said Nsteki.
Like Ghana, Ethiopia is also remembered for standing
on the way of Bafana during the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
Then, the east Africans qualified to the next round of the qualifiers ahead of Bafana, a setback that led to the dismissal of Pitso Mosimane who was in charge of the team at the time.
“As for Ethiopia we are fully aware of what happened in the past. But we talking currently of a South African team with a different playing personnel and different technical team,” added Ntseki, who took over the reigns from former incumbent Stuart Baxter in August last year.
At least regional neighbours Zimbabwe are more of an “open book” to Bafana by virtue of most the Warriors’ players plying their trade in the PSL.
Ntseki said this would enable his technical team “to profile their players week in, week out”.
“It will a tough one but we are hopeful and looking forward to a good start in qualifying for the 2022 World Cup,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, following Tuesday’s draw in Cairo, the 40 qualified countries across the CAF zone were divided into 10 groups of four teams.
The qualifiers to Qatar will kick off in October and continues until October 2021 where the group winners will qualify to the final round.
The qualifiers will culminate into five nations securing the ticket to represent Africa at the tournament in Qatar.
The full 2022 Qatar qualifiers draw
Group A: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Niger, Djibouti
Group B: Tunisia, Zambia, Mauritania, Equatorial Guinea
Group C: Nigeria, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Liberia
Group D: Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Mozambique, Malawi
Group E: Mali, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda
Group F: Egypt, Gabon, Libya, Angola
Group G: Ghana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia
Group H: Senegal, Congo, Namibia, Togo
Group I: Morocco, Guinea, Guinea-Biisau, Sudan
Group J: DR Congo, Benin, Madagascar, Tanzania