Bafana Bafana celebrated a crucial 3-1 victory over Zimbabwe on Tuesday night at the buzzing Free State Stadium, keeping their World Cup dreams alive. In front of an almost-capacity crowd of 46,000 fans, South Africa sprinted into an early lead within 30 seconds. However, Zimbabwe quickly countered, scoring an equaliser just two minutes later.

The first half continued with high-energy play from both sides, but it was in the second half that Bafana Bafana truly shone, with Thapelo Morena scoring twice to seal the victory. The enthusiastic crowd’s support undoubtedly fueled the team’s performance. “When you have a crowd like this, you go the extra mile,” said Coach Hugo Broos. This win propels South Africa to second place in Group C, level on points with Rwanda, ensuring their 2026 FIFA World Cup dreams remain a possibility. 

Bafana Bafana’s journey towards the 2026 FIFA World Cup continues with a crucial encounter against Zimbabwe at the Free State Stadium on Tuesday, 11 June, at 6 pm. After a spirited 1-1 draw against Nigeria in Uyo, coach Hugo Broos and his squad are keen to capitalise on their momentum and secure a vital win.

The South African national team had a commendable start to the year, bagging a bronze medal at the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Ivory Coast. The third-place finish has reignited interest in South African football. According to Hugo, “after our performance at AFCON, suddenly everyone’s talking about South African football again.”

Last Friday, June 7, Bafana Bafana battled the Nigerian Super Eagles to a 1-1 draw in a tense World Cup qualifier. Themba Zwane’s stunning strike initially gave South Africa the lead, but Nigeria clawed back to level the score. 

As Bafana Bafana prepares to face Zimbabwe, the stakes couldn’t be higher. Zimbabwe comes into this match licking their wounds after a shock 2-0 defeat to Lesotho. 

Bafana Bafana now sits in fourth with four points in Group C of the World Cup qualifiers and must seize this opportunity to leapfrog their way to the top of the table. Group C is turning out to be a nail-biter, with just three points separating leaders Lesotho from bottom-placed Zimbabwe. “Our group is not of top countries but it is very tricky,” Broos said. 

Bafana Bafana has graced the FIFA World Cup stage on three occasions—1998, 2002, and 2010. Their debut in 1998 and subsequent qualification in 2002 showcased their potential on the global stage. However, the team has failed to qualify since, with their 2010 appearance guaranteed as the host nation.

Qualifying for the 2026 World Cup would be a monumental achievement, signalling a resurgence in South African football and significantly boosting the players’ profiles. Here’s to hoping for a resounding victory and a step closer to the World Cup. 

Let’s go Bafana Bafana!