South Africa met Zimbabwe in the opening game of the group campaign, and neither side were able to break the deadlock in Harare, despite Hugo Broos’s men
heading in as favourites after a seven-game unbeaten run, including a triumph in the COSAFA Cup in the summer on home turf.
Bafana Bafana quickly kicked into gear though, recording a crucial 1-0 win over a heavily-fancied Ghana side, with Bongokuhle Hlongwane netting the winner in the final 10 minutes.
They then met Ethiopia in consecutive group games and left the away tie with a 3-1 win, thanks to goals from Teboho Mokoena, Mothobi Mvala and Evidence Makgopa, before a Getaneh Kebede own goal made the difference in a hard-fought 1-0 home victory.
Such a run sees Broos’s men lead Ghana by one point with two games to go, but with the sides meeting on the final day in a potentially decisive clash for who will progress, they are far from through yet and will be desperate to put another victory on the board beforehand on Thursday.
They meet a Zimbabwe side who are unable to progress further towards next year’s tournament after a poor run of results.
After the opening draw with Thursday’s opponents, the Warriors have had an opposite spell of form, having lost each of the other three group games.
Video Links Stream 1 Stream 2 HDStream 3
That result was followed by a 1-0 defeat to Ethiopia, before they were beaten 3-1 away from home by Ghana.
In their most recent outing, Zimbabwe welcomed Ghana for the reverse fixture, and they fell just short with Thomas Partey netting the only goal of the game for the heavy favourites.
Despite their inability to go further this year, the Warriors will still be keen to end on a high and post an eye-catching victory against South Africa on Thursday, and they may take confidence from a somewhat improved display in the second meeting with Ghana