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Bafana beat Ethiopia as they push for World Cup qualification

Tiisetso Malepa
Sports reporter

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Abubeker Nasser

Bafana Bafana beat Ethiopia 3-1 in a 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifier on Saturday to strengthen their grip at the top of Group G with a hard fought 3-1 win in front of few hundreds of vaccinated fans in Bahir Dar.

Bafana lead the group on seven points at the half way mark of the first round of the qualifying campaign for Qatar.

Bafana will hope that Ghana, who second on three points, are held against Zimbabwe in the Cape Coast in the other group matches.

Bafana went into the match on four points after they started their campaign with a goalless draw against Zimbabwe in Harare, and a 1-0 win over Ghana in Johannesburg in their opening two qualifiers last month.

Even if Ghana beat Zimbabwe, Bafana will still be ahead by a point at the half way mark.

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JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – JUNE 10: Bongokhuhle Hlongwane of South Africa celebrates his goal with teammates during the International Friendly match between South Africa and Uganda at Orlando Stadium on June 10, 2021 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)

A first half goal from midfielder Teboho Mokoena and second half strikes by his central midfield partner Mothobi Mvala and substitute striker Evidence Makgopa put Bafana in pole position to finish as group winners.

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Getaneh Kebede cancelled out Mokoena’s goal in the 67th minute but Mvala regained the lead for Bafana four minutes later and while Ethiopia threatened SA’s goal in the second half they could not claw their way back and Makgapa punished them on the stroke of full time to deflate the home side.

Hugo Broos’s team will look to race away from their rivals in the return match at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg at 6pm on Tuesday, where they will be cheered on by an expected more than 2,000 vaccinated supporters.

Bafana had a bright start but were disorientated as soon as Ethiopia found their groove and wrestled possession of the ball with their signature short passing game.

The home side posed a threat from the first minute and were allowed to spray their short passes throughout the match.

Ethiopia could have scored more than the one goal but they were denied by the brilliance of Bafana captain Ronwen Williams, who made several saves to keep the visitors ahead in the match.

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Belgian coach and his team will look to complete the double over the east Africans on Tuesday and move to 10 points ahead of the final two qualifiers against Ghana away and Zimbabwe at home in November.

Bafana flew back to Johannesburg immediately after the match and will start preparing in Soweto for the return match as they bid to win their group and advance to the final round of qualifiers.

Africa has 10 groups in the qualifying campaign and the 10 group winners will be drawn into five head-to-head, two-legged ties to earn one of the five places at the first World Cup to be held in the Middle East.

Ethiopia has never qualified for the World Cup finals while Bafana are looking for their fourth participation after appearances in 1998, 2002 and 2010 as hosts.

Bafana have missed out on qualification for the Brazili and Russia tournaments in 2014 and 2018 respectively.

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2 Comments

  1. It’s alright. A defeat hurts but to lose at such low score is something they should learn from. South Africa is not a low profile team ranked as the 71st in the world where Ethiopia is way down the list by FIFA 2021 rankings. It did not turn out to be 12-0. Let’s cheer up those young men.

  2. Ethiopia has the third largest and most powerful military in Africa. this sentence is grammatically correct and politically perfect but it lacks consideration of the reality on the ground. Ethiopia has no army right now but only chickens armed with guns and sticks to fight with the mighty TDF. Defeat to ENDF, EDF and Prosperity party genocidal coalition.

    Ethiopia will sooon be a history.Ethiopia will soon be a looser in any field and sector let alone football that is not its tradtion except bigotry and massacre and being traitor.

    Bravo Bafana

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