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Check out the record between South Africa and Zimbabwe

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On Thursday, Bafana Bafana will face old rivals Zimbabwe in a decisive 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifier, a reunion with one of the first teams they faced upon their comeback to international football in 1992.

There have been six victories and two draws in the 14 previous meetings, the most recent in Harare at the start of the qualifiers in September, implying that there hasn’t been much to pick between the two teams.

South Africa currently leads group G with ten points after four games.

Zimbabwe had been a regular opponent down the years, with only Zambia (23 meetings), Botswana (17), and Nigeria (15) having clashed more often with Bafana.

Here is a look back at those 14 previous games.

1994 African Nations Cup qualifier

National Stadium, Harare

August 16, 1992

Zimbabwe (2) 4 (Takawira 8’, Gumbo 19’, P Ndlovu 49’ pen, 58’)

South Africa (1) 1 (Kambule 21’)

A first ever qualifier for Bafana Bafana in any competition and it proved a chastening moment as a Zimbabwe side with the likes of Bruce Grobbelaar, Francis Shonhai, Wilfred Mugeyi and Peter Ndlovu put them to the sword.

Sam Kambule brought the visitors back into it by half as they trailed only 2-1, but in the second period Zimbabwe’s quality shone through and they romped to the win.

A number of these Bafana players would go on to achieve great things though, such as David Nyathi, Lucas Radebe, Neil Tovey, Doctor Khumalo and Phil Masinga, who lifted the trophy four years later.

1994 African Nations Cup qualifier

Soccer City, Johannesburg

April 24, 1993

South Africa (1) 1 (Maponyane 6’)

Zimbabwe (0) 1 (Nkonjera 82’)

Nine months later and Bafana were more prepared for the rigours of international football and showed their improvement with a much better display.

They led early through Marks Maponyane, the first of two international goals he would score in his 13 caps, but were penned back late on by an equaliser from Benjamin Nkonjera.

Nkonjera, a childhood friend of Peter Ndlovu, was an excellent player who sadly passed away after a short illness in 1999.

Friendly International

Independence stadium, Mmabatho

April 24, 1994

South Africa (0) 1 (P Masinga 76’)

Zimbabwe 0

A friendly clash at the old Mmabatho Independence Stadium, coming just three days before what we now call Freedom Day to celebrate South Africa’s first democratic elections.

Clive Barker was not the coach and slowly building towards the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations, and the team had the likes of Mark Fish, John Moshoeu and Sizwe Motaung in full flow.

The winning moment came on 76 minutes as Phil Masinga scored a second goal in as many games after also netting in a Nations Cup qualifier against Mauritius.

1995 Four Nations Cup

Soccer City, Johannesburg

November 26, 1995

South Africa (1) 2 (Bartlett 20’, 78’)

Zimbabwe 0

The teams kept up their record of meeting in every year after readmission with this clash in the Four Nations Cup. But now Bafana were beginning to hum under Barker, and Zimbabwe perhaps losing some of their lustre.

It proved an easy 2-0 for South Africa, though Zimbabwe were without talisman Peter Ndlovu.

This was just Bartlett’s fourth cap and his third goal having netted against Egypt in the same tournament two days prior.

Friendly International

Soccer City, Johannesburg

June 16, 1999

South Africa 0

Zimbabwe (1) 1 (Shereni 24’)

It would be another four years before the teams clashed again, this time in a friendly that was won by the visitors and played as a celebration of the inauguration of new South Africa president Thabo Mbeki.

Zimbabwe left-back Harlington Shereni got the only goal of the game in the first half, though Bafana were missing many of their overseas-based players, including key forwards at the time Bartlett and Benni McCarthy.

2002 World Cup qualifier

National Sports Stadium, Harare

July 9, 2000

Zimbabwe 0

South Africa (1) 2 (Buckley 7’, 82’)

*match abandoned after 82 minutes – result verified by Fifa

A match that will live in infamy after 12 fans died following a stampede caused by overzealous police officers firing into the crowd.

Fans had thrown bottles and other objects at Bafana players after Delron Buckley’s second goal in the 2-0 win. The game was later abandoned. A scarred Buckley vowed never to play in Zimbabwe again.

2000 COSAFA Cup semifinal

Boet Erasmus Stadium, Port Elizabeth

July 29, 2000

South Africa 0

Zimbabwe (1) 1 (Tembo 11’)

Just three weeks later the teams met again, though this time on South African soil and with much changed teams in the COSAFA Cup.

In fact, Siyabonga Nomvete was the only South African to play in both games as fringe, local players were given a run and Andile Sixaba, Papi Mbele and Fees Moloi earning caps.

The only goal of the game was scored by current SuperSport United coach Kaitano Tembo, in what will have been a sweet moment for him.

2002 World Cup qualifier

Soccer City, Johannesburg

May 5, 2001

South Africa (2) 2 (Bartlett 17’, McCarthy 39’)

Zimbabwe (0) 1 (P Ndlovu 53’ pen)

The return fixture in the World Cup qualifiers that was won by Bafana as their two lead forwards Bartlett and McCarthy were both on the scoresheet in the first half.

A Peter Ndlovu penalty in the second period set up a tense finish, but the home side held on for the vital win.

2003 COSAFA Cup quarterfinal

Basil Kenyon Stadium, East London

July 19, 2003

South Africa 0

Zimbabwe (1) 1 (Muhoni 15’)

A much changed Bafana side without any overseas-based players lost this COSAFA Cup quarterfinal – the only national team in charge for coach Konto Kubheka, who was handed the reins for the fixture.

The team was captained by Siphiwe Mkhonza, but their rag-tag nature meant they never got going in the game and lost to a Lazarus Muhoni goal early on.

Friendly International

Herman Immelman Stadium, Germiston

March 11, 2008

South Africa (0) 2 (Ngcobo 75’, Matola 89’og)

Zimbabwe (1) 1 (G. Mushangazhike 12’)

A friendly game that was played in Germiston of all places as many stadia were out of use due to 2010 Fifa World Cup renovations, Carlos Alberto Parreira was in charge for the home side, which was captain by Teko Modise.

It was made up mostly of locally-based players as the likes of Bevan Fransman, Brett Evans and Sthembiso Ngcobo were given a run.

Gilbert Mushangazhike scored early for the visitors, but when Ngcobo equalised the home side piled on the pressure and forced an own goal from James Matola.

Friendly International

Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban

January 27, 2010

South Africa (0) 3 (Tshabalala 50′, Mbuyane 77′, Thwala 89’)

Zimbabwe 0

A World Cup warm-up match at the newly built Moses Mabhida Stadium just six months out from the start of the competition.

Bafana were without their leading players, and again captained by Modise, but after a poor first half rallied for an emphatic win in the end.

Siphiwe Tshabalala put them in front, before Thulasizwe Mbuyane and Lucas Thwala netted later on.

Only Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Tshabalala, Modise and Katlego Mphela would go on to make an impression in the World Cup squad.

Friendly International

Rufaro Stadium, Harare

November 15, 2011

Zimbabwe (0) 2 (Musona 53’, 61’)

South Africa (1) 1 (Grobler 29’)

South Africa returned to Zimbabwe for the first time following the stadium tragedy in 2000 for this friendly match that was one of the few losses for Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane during his tenure.

It started well enough with a first international goal for Bradley Grobler, but Knowledge Musona turned the tide in the second period.

He remains in the squad today a decade on and is almost certain to start if fit on Friday.

Friendly international

Orlando Stadium, Soweto

September 10, 2013

South Africa (0) 1 (Parker 90’)

Zimbabwe (0) 2 (Musona 51’, Malajila 90’)

Musona again proved a nemesis for Bafana as his opener was followed by a second from another future PSL star Cuthbert Malajila as the Warriors seized control of this friendly in Orlando.

Bernard Parker grabbed one back late on for Bafana, but it proved too little too late in a disappointing defeat for coach Gordon Igesund in the build-up to the 2014 African Nations Championship finals.

2022 World Cup qualifier

National Stadium, Harare

September 3, 2021

Zimbabwe 0

South Africa 0

A game in which both teams appeared nervous and unsure of themselves, in the end The Warriors were there for the taking for young Bafana, but they were perhaps not brave enough to go for it.

It was a first match with coach Hugo Broos in the dug-out, and Bafana were the better side, having a Bongokuhle Hlongwane effort cleared off the line, while the home side created little. This was the first time the teams had played to a goalless draw.

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