Bafana ‘have a big chance to qualify’ for World Cup: Hugo Broos

Thapelo Morena celebrates one of his two goals for Bafana Bafana with teammate Khuliso Mudau in their 3-1 2026 World Cup qualifying win against Zimbabwe at Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein on Tuesday night.
Thapelo Morena celebrates one of his two goals for Bafana Bafana with teammate Khuliso Mudau in their 3-1 2026 World Cup qualifying win against Zimbabwe at Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein on Tuesday night.
Image: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

How their opponents are faring in the 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifying campaign does not bother Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos as his focus is to ensure his team remains on course to reach the global showpiece.

The past two matches were mission accomplished as Bafana ended round four between leaders Rwanda and third-placed Benin in Group C with all three sides on seven points.

Bafana's emphatic 3-1 victory over Zimbabwe at a buzzing Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein on Tuesday saw Broos' Africa Cup of Nations bronze medallists achieve the target of four points from this month's two games, having drawn 1-1 against Nigeria in Uyo on Friday.

A brace by second-half substitute Thapelo Morena earned Bafana the spoils in a match where Broos' charges looked in control from the first minute, in which striker Iqraam Rayners opened the scoring. The only dent was Bafana's lapse of concentration immediately after that to allow Zimbabwe to equalise through Tawanda Chirewa in the second minute.

Overall, though, the Bafana coach is happy, with two other main reasons to remain optimistic of Bafana's first qualification for a World Cup other than as hosts since 2002. 

First, group heavyweights Nigeria are floundering with three points from three draws (two at home and one away against upstarts Lesotho) and a 1-0 defeat to Benin in Ivory Coast on Monday, which put their campaign under new coach Finidi George under serious threat.

Second, of the six qualifiers that remain, all in 2025, Bafana have one match away as Zimbabwe and Lesotho will play home games in South Africa. If they cannot resolve the Confederation of African Football not approving their home grounds, Bafana will play five home matches instead of three and only one away.

Broos said a place in the first 48-team World Cup in Canada, the US and Mexico is in Bafana's hands.

“I don't look at the results of our opponents,” he said. “I look to our results. If our results are good what happens with the opponents is not important.

“Today [Tuesday] it was important to win, not because Nigeria lost or I don't know what. It was important for us to win and we did it. That's the focus we need to have.

“We don't have to look at other results because you'll never qualify because of the other results; you'll qualify because of your own results. We're on schedule on that.

“Let's carry on next year, but if we can keep this level we have a big chance to qualify.”

Broos, who's propelled Bafana to the top 10 in Africa, said it will be important for Bafana to be more clinical in front of goal in the remaining matches. There were many opportunities to score in their games so far and Broos agreed they could have been in an even better position had they taken more of them, especially against Nigeria.

“It's important we won 3-1,” Broos said, asked about the importance of goal difference.

“We have now two goals more when they calculate in the end. We [also] had more chances today and we could have scored fourth and the fifth.

“But again, I repeat what I said a few days ago, the moment we create chances I'm happy.

“Today and also against Nigeria and in the other games, we create chances. One day you will score if you are creating chances. OK, today we scored three times and let's hope in the future it gives us a boost to maybe use our chances more and to have more goals like we had today.” 

After Rwanda, South Africa and Benin, Lesotho are in fourth place in Group C on five points, Nigeria have three and Zimbabwe two.

Bafana's remaining World Cup Group C qualifiers

vs Lesotho (H), March 2025

vs Benin (A), March 2025

vs Lesotho (A), September 2025

vs Nigeria (H), September 2025

vs Zimbabwe (A), October 2025

vs Rwanda (H), October 2025

Bafana Bafana supporters in Bloemfontein came out in their numbers to show the nation team support in their World Cup qualifier match against Zimbabwe. #SouthAfrica #News


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