Bafana Bafana’s bid to qualify for the 2022 Fifa World Cup comes under a stern challenge when they clash against Ethiopia at Bahir Dar Stadium on Saturday.
It is the quest by South Africa to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since the 2002 South Korea/Japan edition, having participated at the 2010 finals as hosts.
So far, their campaign to qualify for Qatar 2022 appears to be on course as they lead Group G following a 0-0 draw away in Zimbabwe and a 1-0 win over Ghana at home.
They have four points while Ghana and Ethiopia have three each. Zimbabwe anchor the pool with just a point.
A win over Ethiopia will see Hugo Broos’ men consolidate top spot as they would wait to know the margin of their lead when Ghana host Zimbabwe later on. But losing in Bahir Dar would severely compromise Bafana’s position and that could see them fall to third place if Ghana also win.
Ethiopia coach Wubetu Abate will be fancying beating Bafana as his side has three key players available for this match.
Captain Shimelis Bekele who plays for Egyptian Premier League club El Gouna is the only foreign-based Walia ibex player and has been with the national team since 2010.
Centre-forward Getaneh Kebede is also available together with Abubeker Nasser who scored 29 league goals in 23 matches last season and is in the process reportedly attracting Premier Soccer League interest from SuperSport United, Cape Town City and Baroka FC.
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No major glitches came out of the Bafana Bafana camp during the course of the week apart from Orlando Pirates midfielder Goodman Mosele going AWOL in what “disappointed” Broos.
He was replaced by SuperSport United’s Jesse Donn who reported for his maiden Bafana camp.Mamelodi Sundowns defender Mosa Lebusa failed to recover from injury and was replaced by another SuperSport player Luke Fleurs.
Thabiso Kutumela was a concern after he received his Covid-19 vaccine earlier in the week but did not react negatively to the jab and made the trip to Bahir Dar.
Al Ahly attacker Percy Tau was already ruled out of this match due to a hamstring problem although he has started full training at his club.