South Africa national team coach Molefi Ntseki believes Zimbabwe can still give them a hard time despite their northern neighbours having several players plying their trade in the ABSA Premiership.
Bafana Bafana and the Warriors were drawn in same Group G of the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers – 2nd Round on Tuesday.
The two rivals’ last meeting in the competition happened almost two decades ago in the 2002 edition’s qualifiers.
Other teams in the pool are Ghana and Ethiopia.
Commenting on the draw, Ntseki admitted toMzansi Football that his side has been handed “tough” opponents.
He said: “Every draw is a tough one because the expectation is that every team left in the top 40 is playing to be at the World Cup.
“We are fully aware of Ghana and their qualities, we are fully aware of Zimbabwe, our neighbours, and Ethiopia. They did well to win their preliminary qualifier against Lesotho to be in the last 40.
“All the teams deserve to be at this stage. It will be a tough one.
“We are talking of a South African national team here, we are not talking of club football. Most of the players from Zimbabwe are playing in South Africa.
“The good thing about it is that we can profile the players week in, week out.
“With Ethiopia, we are aware of what has happened in the past, but we are talking about a different national team with different players and a different technical team.
“It is for us to do our best whenever we play those opponents. To qualify, you have to beat your opponents, you have to play your ‘A’ game. We give both teams the respect they deserve.”
The first games of the group will be played in October this year.