Bafana Bafana are back in action since the disappointing outing in March when they failed to make it for the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations
South Africa begin their first step of their bid to qualify for the 2022 Fifa World Cup when they host Uganda in an international friendly match at Orlando Stadium on Thursday.
It is a new era for Bafana Bafana who are now under new coach Hugo Broos who will, however, now be available for Thursday’s encounter as he is in his native Belgium receiving a second Covid-19 jab.
Coaching responsibilities against the Cranes are on assistant coach Helman Mkhalele.
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After South Africa agonisingly failed to qualify for the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations finals under Molefi Ntseki, Broos came in and has started a fresh project with younger players targeting qualification for the World Cup although he has tried to lower expectations on this bid.
The national team last qualified for the quadrennial global football tournament in 2002 but participated at the 2010 edition as hosts.
They now seek a return to the World Cup and the Uganda friendly is the first step before they travel to Harare to face Zimbabwe in the qualifiers proper in September, before hosting Ghana a few days later.
Their opponents Uganda are also getting ready to begin their qualifying campaign, for a maiden appearance at the World Cup.
|Game||South Africa vs Uganda|
|Date||Thursday, June 10|
|Time||18:00 SA Time|
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This is a battle of teams nursing wounds from their failures to qualify for the next Afcon finals and are seeking a reprieve with World Cup qualification.
While Bafana are starting afresh under Broos, Uganda are also seeking to begin on a clean slate although they are still under an interim coach.
Uganda begin life without former captain and goalkeeper Denis Onyango as well as Hassan Wasswa who both retired in April.
They are also moving on without ex-coach John McKinstry who parted with the team in the wake of Afcon qualification failure.
The Cranes have not tasted victory in their last five games which reads three defeats and two draws, while Bafana have not won in their last two matches inside a five-game schedule in which they have managed two victories, a draw and two losses.
Thursday’s match will the fourth meeting between the two sides and South Africa have dominated previous encounters since their first clash in 2004 when a Benni McCarthy penalty saw Bafana edge the Cranes 1-0 in a 2006 Fifa World Cup qualifier in Kampala.
The reverse fixture had Bafana winning 2-1 at FNB Stadium in March 2005.
It took 14 years for the two sides to meet again and it was South Africa who came out victorious at the 2019 Cosafa Cup tournament where Uganda were guest participants.
A Bafana squad predominantly composed of Under-23 players beat the Cranes 4-2 on penalties in the plate semi-finals after the score was 1-1 at regulation time.