Wasteful Bafana Bafana fail to qualify for Afcon 2021 finals

South Africa’s hopes of qualifying for the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations finals came to an end after losing 2-0 to Sudan at Al-Hilal Stadium in Omdurman on Sunday evening.

Saifeldin Bakhit and Mohamed Abdel Raman grabbed first-half goals which inspired the Falcons of Jediane to their first-ever win over Bafana Bafana. 

Bafana had to avoid a defeat against the hosts in order to qualify for the finals after drawing 1-1 with Ghana at home on Thursday. Molefi Ntseki will come under heavy scrutiny after the 1996 African champions suffered a surprise defeat to the Falcons of Jediane 

Coach Molefi Ntseki made four changes to the team which faced Ghana with Ben Motshwari, Thabang Monare, Lebohang Maboe and Luther Singh all starting in Omdurman.

On the other hand, the Falcons of Jediane could only book their place in next year’s tournament by defeating South Africa after securing a 2-0 win over Sao Tome and Principe away on Wednesday.

Mohamed Abdelrahman and Seifeldin Malik kept their places in the starting line-up after scoring for coach Hubert Velud’s side against Sao Tome and Principe.

South Africa suffered an early set-back as they conceded four minutes into the game after Maboe had committed a foul and the resultant set-piece was headed home by Bakhit to hand Sudan a 1-0 lead. 

Bafana pushed forward in search of the equalising goal with Percy Tau being denied by a last-ditch tackle when he was about shoot at goal, before Thulani Hlatshwayo hit the crossbar with a powerful header. 

Sudan took a 2-0 lead in the 32nd minute against the run of play after Themba Zwane had lost possession and a counter-attack led to Raman scoring, having dribbled past Hlatshwayo.

South Africa then pressed the hosts and an unmarked Siyanda Xulu failed to direct Luther Singh’s corner-kick towards goal in the box and the visitors kept pushing for their first goal of the match.

The last chance of the first-half fell for Tau and Bafana’s talisman was brilliantly denied by Sudan goalkeeper Ali Eshrein from close range and the score was 2-0 to Sudan at the interval.

The Falcons of Jediane did not sit back and defend after the restart as they launched attacks with Bakhit forcing South Africa keeper Ronwen Williams into a low save.

Ntseki then made a triple substitution in the 61st minute as he introduced Ruzaigh Gamildien, S’fiso Hlanti and Lyle Foster with the visitors looking to grab at least two goals to ensure that the game ended in a draw.

Foster nearly made an immediate impact as he set up Thapelo Morena, who was brilliantly denied by Eshrein from close range after Sudan’s defence was exposed. ©goal.com

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