Chiefs players return from international duty

Kaizer Chiefs’ Njabulo Ngcobo is confident that Bafana Bafana can stay top of Group G in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers “till the very end” and proceed to the third and final round of qualifiers on the road to Qatar 2022.

Ngcobo received rave reviews for his solid central midfield display in Bafana’s 1-0 win over Ethiopia in Tuesday’s home FIFA World Cup qualifier at FNB Stadium, which saw South Africa consolidate their top spot in the group ahead of Ghana’s Black Stars.

Ngcobo is pleased to have played a part as Bafana made it three wins in a row in FIFA World Cup qualifying matches.

“We did very well. We can do much better, but everything is on track. It was important to win because we were at home,” Ngcobo said on his return to Club duties at FNB Stadium.

Ngcobo, who was commended widely for his performance against the Ethiopians, was equally pleased to have had some game time.

“I was happy to get some minutes. It is important to play. I think that I am getting there,” Ngcobo said modestly.

Bafana now lead the group, one point ahead of Ghana with two games to go against Zimbabwe at home and Ghana away in November. Ngcobo is confident that they will see out these games and qualify for the third and final qualifying round as group winners.

His answer on whether Bafana will get over the line was a short one as he said: “I am confident we will stay number one till the end”.

Daniel Akpeyi was also on international duty with Nigeria, as well as Chiefs’ three other Bafana Bafana players in Bruce Bvuma, Sifiso Hlanti and Njabulo Blom, who did not feature in South Africa’s win over the Ethiopians.

All Chiefs’ international players, barring Zimbabwe’s Khama Billiat, were back at training at the Village on Wednesday.

Akpeyi was back at training after being part of Nigeria’s squad that remained top of Group C.

“The international break is over, and I am ready to resume work again. We have a big game on the weekend,” said Akpeyi, of the weekend’s DStv Premiership clash against his former club Chippa United.

Nigeria were stunned at home by Central African Republic but bounced back to win the second game on Sunday and Akpeyi commended his teammates for their response.

“We are top of our group and had it not been for the loss we would have been through. We are happy we bounced back and look forward to the next games,” said Akpeyi.

In the next match days, Nigeria will progress with a win over Liberia and a draw against Cape Verde, while Bafana Bafana will be looking to stay ahead of Ghana with a win against Zimbabwe ahead of their final game against Ghana away from home.

Zimbabwe are eliminated and cannot qualify for the third round of qualifying

Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter was a happy man on Wednesday morning as he ran his team through their training drills and welcoming back five of his six squad members from international duty as he awaits only the return of Billiat.