March 29 – South Africa have failed to qualify for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations after suffering a 2-0 defeat in their final group C game against Sudan in Karthoum.
Bafana Bafana needed a result to guarantee passage to the continental finals, but as early as the third minute their plans unravelled when Saifeldin Maki scored for the hosts. On Thursday, South Africa had come from behind to draw 1-1 with Ghana at Soccer City, but this time there was to be no rearguard action. In the 32nd minute, Mohamed Abdel Rahman Yousif was allowed to advance unchecked and double Sudan’s lead.
“It’s a big disappointment for all of us,” said South Africa coach Molefi Ntseki. “If you look at how we started, we were very positive and looking forward to qualifying.If you look at the games we won, we became very confident to qualify. The expectations were created to say the team will do well against Ghana at home and against Sudan away.”
The South Africans failed to finish first or second in a group comprising the no. 127 in the world and the no. 187 in the world. Alongside DR Congo, Angola, Kenya and Tanzania, South Africa complete a quintet of big teams who won’t make the 24-team tournament next year in Cameroon.
It’s the fourth time that South Africa have failed to progress to the Africa Cup of Nations since 2010. They missed out in 2010, 2012 and 2017. At the last finals in 2019, they eliminated hosts Egypt in the round of sixteen before falling to Nigeria in the last eight.
“The traveling also, having to travel immediately after the game, one session preparation and then we play a match,” said Ntseki. “The players tried very hard and we also tried very hard to put everything together with the analysis of Sudan and our own analysis against Ghana.”
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1618617275labto1618617275ofdlr1618617275owedi1618617275sni@o1618617275fni1618617275