SOUTH Africa have missed out on Africa Cup of Nations qualification after falling to a two-goal defeat against Sudan in Saturday’s do-or-die showdown.
After Bafana Bafana failed to get the job done at home against Ghana on March 25, they left it to their final Group C game to ensure qualification.
Victory at home against the Black Stars on Thursday would have taken South Africa to the brink of the Nations Cup, but instead, the 1-1 draw at the FNB Stadium means they headed into Sunday’s meeting with Sudan only one point ahead of the Falcons of Jediane.
Still, a draw in Omdurman would have favoured South Africa, who would have progressed from the group along with Ghana. However, two first-half goals—from Saifeldin Malik Bakhit and Mohammed Abdel-Rahman—left the visitors with a mountain to climb, and they were ultimately unable to get back into the contest.
Sudan’s win means they leapfrog Bafana and qualify along with Ghana, who defeated Sao Tome e Principe in their final qualifier on Sunday.
South Africa needed two goals in the second half—and to concede no further goals—in order to progress to Cameroon and avoid the ignominy of missing out on the Nations Cup, but despite some good interplay between the forwards, they failed to trouble the hosts’ goal.
Defeat means Bafana Bafana miss out on the Nations Cup for the fifth time in their history, and the fourth time since they conquered the continent in 1996. South Africa’s loss also means they will be absent from the tournament for the first time since 2017.
Ahead of the fixture there were some questions about whether the match would be broadcast or not, with many people questioning: “Will Bafana Bafana be televised today?” or “On which channel is Bafana Bafana playing today?”
It had been anticipated that Bafana would be on SABC 1, but before the game, the South African Broadcasting Corporation revealed in a strongly worded tweet that they had been priced out of the broadcast rights for the match.
Fortunately, there were other options available for South Africa fans, even if supporters weren’t able to watch the game via conventional broadcast means, although after a poor display by Bafana, there will be few who remember this contest fondly.