Tough start for Bafana

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Carlos Alberto Parreira’s team will open their bid to qualify for the 2010 Nations Cup (they automatically earn a place at the World Cup as hosts) in Nigeria against the Super Eagles on May 31, 2008.

Then follows three more matches on successive weekends against Equatorial Guinea (June 6 home), and then a double-header against Sierra Leone on June 13 (away) and June 20 (home).

Bafana then host Nigeria on September 5, before completing the first round of qualification away in Equatorial Guinea (October 10).

In order to advance to the next phase of qualification, Bafana must finish either as group winners, or one of the eight best runners-up from the 12 CAF groups.

The 20 teams that make it to the second group phase are split into five pools of four teams, with only the winners advancing to the 2010 World Cup.

The top three teams in each group will contest the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations, along with hosts Angola.