Bafana Bafana face possibility of playing three times a week due to fixture backlog

Bafana Bafana head coach Molefi Ntseki is unlikely to see any action until after at least June.
Bafana Bafana head coach Molefi Ntseki is unlikely to see any action until after at least June.
Image: Richard Huggard/Gallo Images

South Africa’s national team could have to play three times a week later this year to haul in fixtures postponed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Bafana now have three matches to catch up on after Fifa at the weekend officially cancelled all international matches set for June.

They were to host the Black Stars of Ghana on June 6 in a top of the table clash in their 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying group but that game is now off‚ leaving Molefi Ntseki’s side unlikely to see any action before September.

Bafana have already seen last month’s two Group C qualifiers against tiny Sao Tome e Principe - both home and away – postponed in the wake of the worldwide sporting shutdown.

Fifa are now planning‚ reports added‚ to press national teams to catch up quickly and ensure the international calendar gets back on track before the end of the year.

As the calendar stands now‚ South Africa must play Sudan away in September in their last Africa Cup of Nations Group C qualifier and then in October and November begin their World Cup qualifying campaign against Ethiopia‚ Ghana and Zimbabwe.

But if the fixture list is to be shifted out‚ leaving Bafana having to play Sao Tome (twice) and Ghana in a potentially exhausting seven day spell between September 2-8 and then Sudan and‚ possibly‚ their opening two World Cup qualifiers between October 7-13.

That will put the qualifying calendar back on track with a further World Cup qualifier set for November.

Three matches in seven days in September would mean Ntseki would need to select a bigger squad and use more players.

But South Africa have the advantage of two ‘soft’ matches against Sao Tome before they take on Ghana‚ so the coach could save his best XI for the Black Stars and play the two games before that against Sao Tome with second stringers.

They would still be fancied to win against the tiny island nation which is ranked a lowly 181st in the world.

Ghana must play Sudan twice before taking on Bafana in a far tougher assignment for the Black Stars‚ leaving them potentially fatigued when they get to Mzansi.