Bafana Bafana must beat Zimbabwe during their 2022 Qatar FIFA World Cup qualifier at FNB Stadium on Thursday night to give themselves an advantage going into the last match of the against Ghana in the Cape Coast on Sunday.
Bafana go into this vitally important match sitting on top of Group G with ten points from their four matches so far were they won three and drawn one but second-placed Ghana is breathing down their necks with nine points.
Both teams cannot afford to drop points on Thursday where the Warriors of Zimbabwe have made the short trip across the Limpopo river to take on Bafana and Ethiopia are hosting the Black Stars of Ghana at Orlando Stadium.
Ethiopia are hosting Ghana at Orlando Stadium in South Africa after Confederation of Africa Football (Caf) ruled that their home venues are not suitable to host international matches until local authorities make the necessary refurbishments.
If Bafana get all the three points from Zimbabwe, who have already been eliminated from the race for the World Cup, and Ghana drop points, then Hugo Broos and his men will have the fate of progressing to the final stage of the qualifiers in the own hands.
South Africa VS Zimbabwe
In the build up to the match this week, experienced Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos emphasised to his largely youthful and hungry side to focus on their preparations and not to think about Ghana.
In one of his press conferences, the 69-year-old Belgian said beating Zimbabwe and going to Ghana with a lead on the points table, will be crucial for South Africa to stand a realistic chance of booking a place in the final stage of the qualifiers.
To get the much needed three home points from this match, Broos is going to rely on starters like Ronwen Williams, Siyanda Xulu, Sydney Mobbie, Rushine De Reuck, Percy Tau, Teboho Mokoena and Keagan Dolly.
Other players who are going to be key for Bafana Bafana are Ethan Brooks, Victor Letsoalo, Bongokuhle Hlongwane, Evidence Makgopa, Fagrie Lakay and highly-rated Sphephelo Sithole if he is given the opportunity.
For Zimbabwean coach Norman Mapeza, he has called on the experience of players like Brendan Galloway of Plymouth Argyle in League One in England, Marvelous Nakamba of Aston Villa in the Premiership, Jonah Farbish of Hamburger SV in Germany.
He also has the experience of South Africa based Kuda Mahashi of SuperSport United, Khama Billiat of Kaizer Chiefs and Knox Mutizwa of Golden Arrows who will be very must at home against Bafana Bafana on familiar conditions.
Bafana Bafana did not qualify for the Covid-19-delayed 2021 Nations Cup, so Broos went on a rebuilding process with mostly inexperienced players and he omitted a number of older players like Thulani Hlatshwayo and Themba Zwane.
Pick: South Africa Wins by 0.28 at BetXChange