Only the top two teams from each group will qualify for the month-long 24-team tournament starting on the 23rd of June.
48 nations are in 12 groups consisting of four teams each.
This is an opportunity for Bafana Bafana to redeem themselves after failing to qualify for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Cameroon, after finishing third in their group. South Africa needed only two points in their remaining two matches but failed to live up to expectations.
The side, which was coached by Molefi Ntseki, drew with Ghana at home and then lost 2-nil to Sudan in Khartoum. Then there was more heartbreak when Bafana Bafana failed to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
But there is hope for the team that was pipped by the Black Stars of Ghana in controversial circumstances, in the sixth and final Group G clash away from home.
Radebe says, “To be honest I think the first thing the fans must rally behind the team and Hugo Broos and that’s what we need. I think we haven’t really had great preparations, we haven’t really had a good team that can be consistent and participates and competes at this level. But we have a chance. I think now it’s time that we can get the players together. It’s the time to get the team that we look forward to winning things.”
“But I think we are capable. I think we just need to beat Morocco. Our neighbours we can deal with them you know – some of them are here. But I think they will go for us; they will go to Morocco it will be exciting.”
When he was appointed as Bafana Bafana coach in May last year, Belgian Hugo Broos said qualifying for every AFCON tournament was non-negotiable.
Former Ivory Coast Forward Salomon Kalou says, “Bafana Bafana is a top team they need to come back to the front line. I think they are capable of qualifying in this group and I think he is the guy. He says what he says I think he is right.”
This will be the second time that the Ivory Coast will host the Africa Cup of Nations. They last hosted the tournament back in 1984. Ivory Coast won the tournament twice in 1992 and 2015.
“It feels great. I think we are a country of hospitality. So we are waiting to receive all our brothers from all over the countries and I think it’s gonna be fun because Ivorians love football and we want to stake that competition so that everybody can have fun. You know when you play at home you get extra power I think Lucas can say it better because the first time they played here they won. I think they are still a young team,. We have to find a balance between the old players and the new players. I think we have a chance to win.”
Although the Ivory Coast qualify automatically as hosts, they have opted to play the qualifiers to get the much-needed game time in the next few months. They are in Group H along with Zambia, Lesotho and Comoros.
Defending champions Senegal are in Group I with Rwanda, Benin, and Mozambique.