South Africa 2026 FIFA World Cup betting: A six-point start to qualification is vital

The South Africa 2026 FIFA World Cup betting markets would get a lot of attention if Bafana Bafana can end a wait of 24 years to reach the finals via a successful qualification campaign.

With their only appearance of the past two decades coming by way of host status in 2010, the South Africans will be eager to get off to a flying start to this qualification campaign, especially after being just one goal short of gazumping Ghana for top spot in the second round of CAF qualifying for Qatar 2022.

South Africa begin against Benin and Rwanda, and hopes are high for back-to-back victories. In this breakdown we are going to be looking at the odds for South Africa to kick off their qualifying campaign with three points, as well as why their clash against Benin could be a low-scoring affair.

South Africa national team 1
Photo by Icon sport

Latest News – Bafana Bafana plans disrupted by injuries

South Africa will be huge favourites in both of their games, given that they sit 24 and 70 spots above both Benin and Rwanda respectively in the FIFA rankings. However, they have been rocked by a minor injury crisis, with Grant Kekana, Thapelo Maseko and Lebo Mothiba having been forced to withdraw from the squad due to injury.

Therefore, South Africa must now call upon Thapelo Xoki, Elias Mokwana and Evidence Makgopa, which disrupts their plans.

As for Rwanda, they only managed to draw at home to Zimbabwe, which could force them to come out of a potential low block to try and pick up some unlikely points if they have any ambitions of finishing in the top two of their group.

South Africa national team 2
Photo by Icon sport

South Africa 2026 FIFA World Cup betting – key markets and prices

Now that a picture has been painted as to how South Africa should get on in these next two games, it’s time to delve into some more free 2026 World Cup betting tips.

Both Teams to Score vs Benin: No (8/15)

In South Africa’s last five games, just 25% of them have seen both teams score, so betting on one of these teams keeping a clean sheet would be a sensible shout. Something else that reinforces this idea, is the fact South Africa have kept four clean sheets in their last five games, showing they have a sturdy backline to build upon going forward.

annick Senami Hountondji of Benin and Stanley Ratifo of Mozambique
Benin are not a team to be taken lightly. (Photo by Icon sport)

Under 1.5 goals vs Benin (6/4)

Benin have only scored more than one goal in a game once over their past four matches, while South Africa have done so just once in their last seven games. So, it looks like a poor Benin attack will be coming up against a poor South Africa attack, however, a very stubborn and sturdy defence. Two of South Africa’s last four games have finished 0-0, so they really do struggle to score goals, but seem to enjoy keeping the ball out of their own net.

HT/FT: Draw/Draw vs Benin (17/5)

The fact that South Africa have drawn against sides such as Eswatini, Namibia and Malawi (in normal time) in recent months shows they have sometimes struggled to live up to the tag of favourites. While South Africa will be eager to get off to a great start and put pressure on the group favourites, Nigeria, they could well be happy to leave this international break with four points.

See also: Who will be the best-performing African team at the 2026 World Cup?

Tamhas Woods

Tamhas is a freelance editor and sports content strategist with more than a decade of experience. He is accredited by the Broadcast Journalism Training Council, possesses full FWA and SJA membership and has also been a judge at the Football Content Awards.