Tshwane – Bafana Bafana of South Africa and the Brave Warriors Namibia are the only two Southern African men’s national soccer sides taking part in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers that are yet to taste defeat after two matches.
Zambia’s Chipolopolo and Malawai’s Flames are also not badly placed.
But for Angola, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, below par performances mean they now have an uphill task in their bid to qualify for the global showcase in Qatar.
With five slots available for African teams at the 2022 World Cup, the ten group winners will progress to playoffs that will determine the final representatives in Qatar.
South Africa top Group G with four points from two games after drawing 0–0 with Zimbabwe in Harare and 1-0 victory over Ghana in Johannesburg.
That draw and a subsequent 0-1 loss away to Ethiopia mean Zimbabwe anchor Group G with just one point.
Namibia are second in Group H with four points after drawing with Congo and defeating Togo in their two matches.
Senegal lead that group with six points after collecting maximum points at the expense of Congo and Togo.
Zambia occupy second spot in Group B with three points after managing a 2–1 victory over Mauritania before suffering a 2–0 defeat to North African giants Tunisia in their other match. Tunisia, who won their other match against Equatorial Guinea by a 3 – 0 margin, have taken firm control of that group with six points.
Angola’s World Cup bid is in danger. The former Cosafa Cup champions are at the bottom of Group F after losing to Egypt and Lybia.
In Group D, Malawi are third with three points after beating Mozambique 1 – 0 at home before losing 2 – 0 away to Cameroon. Mozambique are bottom of the group after a 0–0 draw in their other match against log leaders Ivory Coast.
Former Zimbabwe and Orlando Pirates midfielder Edelbert Dinha, who has been following the qualification matches from South Africa where he is based, said it was too early to make any conclusive speculations.
Dinha – who also played for Cape Town Spurs and Mpumalanga Black Aces – said: “You cannot rule out teams like Zimbabwe because there are still many games to play. Zimbabwe is capable of beating South Africa in their own backyard.”
He, however, lamented how Covid-19 had taken away some of the gloss from the qualifiers.
“You always want the 12th man, the fans, whenever you play at home; hearing them cheering, singing for you can lift your spirit and will definitely motivate you,” Dinha said.