Bafana Bafana: What do South Africa need to seal World Cup qualification after win over Zimbabwe?

Hugo Broos’ men gave themselves a massive chance against the Warriors but there is a lot still to do

Bafana Bafana’s 3-1 victory against Zimbabwe did not alter much in their 2026 World Cup qualifying group as they find themselves among three teams tied on seven points.

A first-minute goal from Stellenbosch FC forward Iqraam Rayners and Thapelo Morena’s second half brace handed South Africa a huge win against the Warriors who had threatened to spoil their party after Tawanda Chirewa gave them an equaliser in the second minute.

However, Hugo Broos’ men turned on the style to kill off any hopes of an upset in Bloemfontein which leaves them in a good position to make it to the 2026 World Cup after four matches.

Group C now has Rwanda, South Africa and Benin, all on seven points, while Lesotho, who lost to the Rwandese on Tuesday, on five, winless Nigeria are on three as Zimbabwe trail with two.

Thapelo Morena South Africa

It is still wide open with every team capable of making it to the United States, Canada and Mexico for the tournament but the leading three have given themselves a massive advantage.

South Africa must win all home matches 

South Africa have now won two home matches and to make it to the World Cup, the same has to continue.

Bafana Bafana’s next match is at home to Lesotho in March 2025 and they must get maximum points to stay in contention while hoping for favours elsewhere.

On matchday five, Rwanda will be at home to Nigeria while Zimbabwe host Benin. Given Zimbabwe are turning into the group’s whipping boys, South Africa will hope for some favours from the Super Eagles, who badly need a win, as that will see them move to 10 points while Rwanda stay on seven or get eight in case of a draw.

Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos
Hugo Broos, head coach of South Africa during the South Africa Press Conference at Charles Konan Stadium in Yamoussoukro on the 02 February 2024 – Photo by Icon Sport – Photo by Icon Sport

They will then head to Benin looking for at least a draw which would leave both sides on 11 points after six matches, before they play away to Lesotho in September 2025 where they must avoid defeat by all counts.

Broos’ men can end the qualifiers on at least 21 points 

It will set the stage for a home match against Nigeria and as difficult as it may be, South Africa should be targeting three points against the Super Eagles.

That will be a big confidence booster before an away clash to Zimbabwe, where they should get all three points as the Warriors might be out of contention by then.

Broos’ men would then head into the final match, a home tie against Rwanda, on 18 points and if they maintain their 100 per cent home record, their qualifying campaign will end with at least 21 points.

That could be enough to secure top spot in Group G and direct qualification for a first World Cup since 2010 or at the very least second place that will see them go into the playoffs.

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Joel Oliver

Joel Oliver is a seasoned multimedia sports journalist with a rich background in covering diverse football stories and events in South Africa and beyond.

His extensive coverage spans subjects touching on the PSL, with a focus on the Big Three (Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs & Mamelodi Sundowns), Bafana Bafana and Banyana Banyana.