The Sunday Mail
Former Warriors coach and odds-on favourite to land the job again, Joey Antipas, believes the Warriors have what it takes to be one of the five teams that will represent Africa at the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
The Warriors will face Ghana, South Africa and Ethiopia, after being placed in Group G of the 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifiers.
The first round of group games will begin in October and finish in October 2021, prior to a final round of play-offs in November 2021.
Only the 10 group winners will progress to the final play-off round, where two-legged ties will decide Africa’s five World Cup representatives.
And the former Warriors coach, who presided over the preliminary round qualifiers against Somalia, has said that for the Warriors to progress past the Group stages, and into the two legged play-offs, they will have to utilise home advantage against all teams in Group G.
“It’s not an easy draw for the Warriors, in fact, it is a tough group for us,” said Antipas
“It is important that the team prepares well for these games, and we will have to win and capitalise on home advantage, if we are to see ourselves progressing to the next round,” he said.
He added that the Warriors have adequate arsenal to beat any of the three teams.
“Zimbabwe has a good squad and on a good day they can win against any team on the continent,” said Antipas.
Warriors Turkey Super Ligi-based defender Teenage Hadebe said they were looking forward to the qualifiers and is confident of the team qualifying to its first World Cup.
“It is tough group but football has changed,”said Hadebe.
“I believe we will fight for the country and it will be good for us to make history.
“I’m looking forward to the World Cup qualifiers and together with other football stakeholders we can do it,” said the Yeni Malatyaspor defender.
With a bulk of the Warriors plying their trade in the Absa Premiership, Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki said he will use that opportunity to plan against their northern neighbours in the Battle for Limpopo.
“Most of the players from Zimbabwe are playing in South Africa. The good thing about it is that we can profile the players’ week in and week out,” he said.
Ntseki and Ghana’s head coach, Charles Kwabala Akonnor, have both admitted that it won’t be a stroll in the park to progress past the group stages.
“We are fully aware of Ghana and their qualities, the same goes for Zimbabwe, our neighbours and Ethiopia.
“All the teams deserve to be at this stage. It will be a tough one. It is for us to do our best, when we play them. To qualify you have to beat your opponents, you have to bring your ‘A’ game and give both teams the respect they deserve,” said Ntseki
Black Stars’ coach Akonnor believes his charges have to put in the extra-work, if they are to be part of the five teams that represent Africa the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
“It is the desire for all the teams to qualify,” he said.
“We know all three teams – South Africa, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia – will do their best to get there, but we will have to put in the extra work , as we know that hard work pays,” said the Black Stars coach.