What Bafana Bafana should do to qualify for 2023 Afcon finals - ex-South Africa coach Igesund

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Gordon Igesund and Siphiwe Tshabalala, Bafana Bafana, 2013
GOAL spoke exclusively to the man who guided the 1996 African champions to the quarter-finals at the 2013 edition

Former South Africa head coach Gordon Igesund has explained what he thinks Bafana Bafana should do to qualify for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations finals billed for Ivory Coast.  

This comes after Bafana were pitted against Morocco, Zimbabwe and Liberia in their qualifying group (Group K) on Tuesday with the two top teams set to book their spots in the finals. 

The matches will begin this May with South Africa hoping to return to the continental showpiece having missed out on the last finals, which were hosted by Cameroon earlier this year. 

"Under normal circumstances, I would say this is a favourable draw for us. Morocco for me obviously the favourites [to win the group]," Igesund told GOAL.

"We have played them on many occasions, in actual fact, we had them in our group in our last Afcon finals appearance in Egypt. 

"This is a fantastic group for South Africa to be in because really, truth-speaking, we should beat Zimbabwe and we should also beat Liberia who are ranked 149th in the world."

The former Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns coach pointed out that Bafana should win their games against Zimbabwe and Liberia in order to qualify for Africa's most prestigious football tournament as he views Morocco as tough opponents.

"Zimbabwe are in Southern Africa. They are just okay as a team, but if all things are equal South Africa should be able to qualify. They need to beat both Zimbabwe and Liberia to qualify," he continued. 

"Morocco is always a tough game. I think South Africa got a lucky draw. If you could pick a group you wanted to be in, this is the group I would have picked. Truly speaking if we get our best team out there, we can qualify." 

Bafana drew with Guinea before losing to France in international friendly matches under their head coach Hugo Broos last month. 

Igesund, who was in charge of Bafana between July 2012 and July 2014, stressed the importance of having good preparations before South Africa's Group K campaign starts. 

"I have always gone on record to say when a coach plays friendly matches, he needs to try out new things and that is what he [Broos] has been doing," the accomplished tactician added. 

"He has been trying out new things. Now he has two months to prepare and he needs to get the team into a camp and work on them and take these games (qualifiers) seriously.

"They should get them (players) into a camp, not two days before their first game, two weeks before the qualifying campaign starts. This will be an opportunity to work together as they prepare."

"They got a very good draw and they should qualify without any problems. We should go through it quite easily. Morocco and South Africa will be strong favourites to quality as the two top teams."