Zimbabwe coach weighs in on unpredictable WC qualifiers

Zimbabwe coach weighs in on unpredictable WC qualifiers

In trying to make sense of the surprise results during the ongoing 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, Zimbabwe coach Jairos Tapera argues it’s evidence there are no minnows in African football.

The Warriors themselves are in muddy waters – being bottom of Group C having failed to win any of their three matches so far.

Ahead of facing Bafana Bafana at the Free State Stadium tonight, Tapera believes the road to the global showpiece is still wide open.

"I think the best knowledge which is now on the ground is small countries are improving in terms of their development. They are so much organised that you can't get into a game and say 'We are Zimbabwe, we are going to win'," Tapera said.

Zimbabwe go into their clash with South Africa still reeling from losing 2-0 to Lesotho on Friday at Orlando Stadium.

Tapera is not giving up yet.

"Every team is doing very well to improve themselves and they are doing very well to win games like what happened against us in Lesotho. No one really thought about [it] but you saw how organised Lesotho was. It all tells that it's going to be a very open group where anyone can win tomorrow and go on top of the log," he added.

With Bafana coach Hugo Broos also describing tonight’s fixture as a “must-win”, Tapera conceded it will be an uphill battle.

"Probably the last four/five/six years, South Africa have been building a team that they have. We were probably under the ban [FIFA] and we are coming up. It's not that we don't have good players, we have got plenty of good players but because of the ban I think we missed on time to regroup, time to be with the team together, time to play so many games together but I tell you like I said, our games against Bafana Bafana doesn't count with form at all. It is who is prepared to give it all that will win the game."