Bafana Bafana play their third straight Afcon qualifying match on home soil as they now welcome the Black Stars
South Africa will be looking to edge closer to booking a ticket to the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations when they host Ghana in a Group C encounter at FNB Stadium on Thursday.
After Sudan beat Sao Tome and Principe 2-0 on Wednesday, Bafana Bafana will have to wait until the final day of the qualifiers to confirm a place at the tournament even if they record victory over Ghana.
Molefi Ntseki’s men are second on the standings with nine points, the same as leaders Ghana and third-placed Sudan whom they visit on Sunday to wind up their qualification campaign.
The current standings make Group C intriguing as the top-three teams are all within a chance of claiming a berth for Cameroon 2022.
If South Africa lose, they will travel to Sudan under pressure for an outright win on Sunday.
Thursday’s match is the third in succession for Bafana Bafana on home soil in these qualifiers after engaging Sao Tome in back-to-back matches in South Africa last November.
|Game||South Africa vs Ghana|
|Date||Thursday, March 25|
|Time||18:00 SA Time|
TV Channel, Live Score & How To Watch
|Online Streaming||TV Channel|
|SABC 1/Ghana Today Television|
Squads & Team News
Bafana Bafana have been bit by injuries and Covid-19 restrictions ahead of the Ghana and Sudan matches.
SuperSport United forward and Mamelodi Sundowns’ Kemit Erasmus were injured while in action for their clubs and failed to go into Bafana camp.
Dean Furman and Thulani Serero were not permitted by their clubs to travel to South Africa which is considered as a new Covid-19 variant hotspot.
Rangers FC midfielder Bongani Zungu will miss the Ghana game but was expected to be available for the trip to Sudan.
But some reports suggest that he might not make it to Sudan after failing to find a connecting flight which avoids Covid-19 red zones.
Ntseki has since added the Mamelodi Sundowns duo of Mothobi Mvala and Lebohang Maboe as well as Orlando Pirates midfielder Vincent Pule, Thabo Nodada and Thabiso Kutumela.
Ghana have been experiencing a similar situation as Bafana Bafana where some European clubs are reluctant to allow their players to travel to South Africa.
The Black Stars are in Johannesburg without captain Andre Ayew, Crystal Palace striker Jordan Ayew and Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey but the trio will be available for their final group game against Sao Tome at home.
Ajax Amsterdam attacker Mohammed Kudus and Chelsea loanee Abdul Rahman Baba have managed to make it to South Africa after initially facing travelling challenges with their clubs.
South Africa and Ghana will be playing against each other for the 14th time since their first-ever meeting in November 1994 when Bafana won 2-1 in a Four Nations Tournament at Loftus Versfeld.
In the 13 games they have clashed in, Bafana enjoy a better record of five wins to Ghana’s four, while four games have ended in draws.
But the last encounter between the two sides saw the West Africans claiming a 2-0 victory in what was the opening match of this 2022 Afcon qualifying campaign.
Partey and Kudus were on target for the Black Stars and Ntseki’s men could be happy that the Arsenal man will not be available on Thursday.
Interestingly, Bafana Bafana and Ghana have each played five games since November 2019.
Within that period, South Africa have won three, drew once and lost one game, a 2-1 defeat by Zambia in an international friendly last year.
Ghana have recorded victory on three occasions and lost twice including their last Group C match away in Sudan.
While South Africa have been under Ntseki in all their matches in this pool, the Black Stars began this qualifying bid under Kwesi Appiah who guided them to victories over Bafana and Sao Tome.
Charles Kwabla Akonnor then took over and led them to a 2-0 win over Sudan, before they were edged 1-0 by the same opponents to drop points in this group for the first time.