Neighbours South Africa and Zimbabwe will be renewing their rivalry during the highly anticipated 2022 Qatar Fifa World Cup qualifier at the National Stadium in Harare where they will both be looking to start the campaign on a positive note on Friday afternoon.
Bafana Bafana and The Warriors will be meeting for the 16th time since South Africa’s readmission back into the international fold in 1992 but this will be the fifth official match between the two countries in 29 years.
Going into the match, little separates them according to their head-to-head statistics with Zimbabwe having managed seven wins while Bafana Bafana on the other hand have having won six encounters and the other two matches ending in draws.
It is worth noting that South Africa have only lost once to Zimbabwe in four official matches. Bafana Bafana suffered a 4-1 drubbing in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Zimbabwe in August 1992.
The return leg a year later ended in a 1-all draw. The other two official meetings were in the 2002 World Cup qualifiers, with South Africa winning both legs.
Zimbabwe VS South Africa
Zimbabwe will be without some of their star players for the Bafana match like midfielder Marvelous Nakamba of Aston Villa, Tendai Darikwa of Wigan Athletic and Jordan Zemura or Bournemouth in England.
The English Premier League (EPL) and all lower divisions in the UK have blocked players from leaving for the current international window as they have categorized Zimbabwe and many other African countries as red-listed.
The English clubs are worried these players will miss some league matches upon arrival back in the UK as they would have to undergo a 10-day mandatory quarantine period.
While some of their key players will be unavailable, Zimbabwe will on stars like Washington Arubi of Marumo Gallants, Kudakwashe Mahachi of SuperSport United Blessing Sarupinda of Sekhukhune United, Khama Billiat of Kaizer Chiefs and Knox Mutizwa of Golden Arrows in the DStv Premiership.
They also have former Orlando Pirates defender Marshall Munetsi, who is now an enforcer at French club Stade Reims and played against Lionel Messi’s PSG in a league match at the weekend, and Knowledge Musona who is with Al-Tai in Saudi Arabia.
Bafana coach Hugo Broos goes into this match without attacker Thabiso Kutumela of Mamelodi Sundowns and defender Thibang Phete of Portuguese side Belenenses SAD from the squad after their Covid-19 tests returned positive.
Looking ahead of the match, Broos warned his Bafana players not to underestimate Zimbabwe who will be without some of their key England based players like Nakamba because they have quality replacements.
To get the much needed three points will look to captain Ronwen Williams and other key players like Rushine de Reuck, Teboho Mokoena, Sipho Mbule, Percy Tau and with Evidence Makgopa leading the line.
Pick: South Africa Wins by 1.46 at BetXChange