WCQ: Why Black Stars will qualify for play-offs if they beat South Africa by any margin

South Africa’s 1-0 win over Zimbabwe has boosted Ghana’s hopes of winning Group G to qualify for play-offs of the Africa World Cup qualifiers.

WCQ: Why Black Stars will qualify for play-offs if they beat South Africa by any margin

The Black Stars’ qualification bid suffered a blow when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Ethiopia on Thursday afternoon.

However, South Africa failed to capitalise on it and also managed just a narrow victory over Zimbabwe later on the same day.

The results from both matches mean Bafana Bafana are currently sitting at the top of the group with 13 points, with Ghana on 10 points.

Milovan Rajevac’s side, though, can usurp South Africa from the summit of the group if they beat them on Sunday at the Cape Coast Stadium.

This is because, for tie-breakers in the World Cup qualifiers, points accrued count first, then overall goal difference, goals scored come next, before the head-to-head rule applies.

Should Ghana beat Bafana Bafana, the two teams will then be level on 13 points, which will leave the overall goal difference as the next tie-breaker.

South Africa currently have a +5 goal difference as compared to Ghana’s +3. But should they even lose by a single goal margin in their last group game, then their goal difference will drop to +4 while Ghana’s will in turn rise to +4.

Should both teams finish the group on the same points and the same goal difference, the next option to declare the group winner will be goals scored. But this only applies if Ghana wins by a one-goal margin. Mind you, if Ghana wins by a two-goal margin or more, the Black Stars will automatically top the group due to a superior goal difference.

Again, both Ghana and South Africa have scored six goals in the group. That also means any kind of win for Ghana would give the West African’s a superior goal margin, hence they topping the group. The only way South Africa can progress at the expense of Ghana will be to deny them victory.

The above are the permutations ahead of the Black Stars’ crucial World Cup qualifier against Bafana Bafana.

But it’s now a simple KPI for Rajevac and his side: win by any margin and guarantee qualification to the play-offs.

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