Bafana still in Afcon and face hosts Egypt in last-16

South Africa's coach Stuart Baxter attends a press conference in the capital Cairo, on June 30, 2019, on the eve of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) Group A football match between South Africa and Morocco.
South Africa's coach Stuart Baxter attends a press conference in the capital Cairo, on June 30, 2019, on the eve of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) Group A football match between South Africa and Morocco.
Image: Nader Nabil / AFP

Bafana Bafana are not just dramatically still at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, they now face hosts Egypt in Saturday's last-16 feature at the hosts stronghold cauldron at Cairo International Stadium.

Now, the South Africans, instead of being on an early plane home, will line up against the in-form hosts, led by Liverpool striker and Egyptian national hero Mohamed Salah.

Tunisia - one of the supposed "bigger" Africa teams who have been probably as poor as South Africa - were held to a draw by Mauritania in a 9pm kickoff Group E game.

SportsLIVE PODCAST | Proteas future & Baxter blunder

That result, along with Mali's 1-0 win against Angola, completed a confusing set of mathematical permutations that saw Bafana finish in fourth place on the third-placed table, and past the group stage at a Nations Cup for the first time since reaching the quarterfinals on home soil in 2013.

This turn of events came despite the South Africans conceding a last-gasp 90th-minute strike to Mbark Bousouffa at Al Salam Stadium on Monday night to lose their finjal Group D game 1-0.

That result - plus a 1-0 opening defeat against Ivory Coast and 1-0 win against Namibia - saw the South Africans finish third in Group D with three points and a -1 goal difference.

Kenya's 3-0 defeat against Senegal in a later game on Monday night gave Bafana some hope, as they went to third place on the table of third-placed finishers.

The top two teams and four best third-placed finishers from six groups in the new, expanded 24-team Nations Cup progress to the last-16.

SA needed a number of results in the final Group E and F matches on Tuesday night to go their way to remain in the top four.

In the 6pm kickoff Group F games Ghana beat Guinea-Bissau 2-0, but Benin managed a 0-0 draw against Cameroon to jump above South Africa into third place on the third-placed table, as Bafana dropped to fourth.

Then the later Group E results did go SA's way. Tunisia's draw saw them finish second to Mali, and progress. Mauritania finished level on two points with Angola.

The final third-placed table had Guinea in first place with four points; Democratic Republic of Congo and Benin were next, both with three points and a 0 goal difference; and Bafana were fourth with three pioints and a -1 difference.

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

X