Bafana Bafana through to African Nations Cup quarterfinal
SIYABONGA Sangweni equalised for Bafana Bafana with less than five minutes left in a rainy Durban on Sunday as the African Nations Cup hosts booked their place in the tournament quarterfinals for the first time in a decade.
Morocco’s Issam el Adoua netted from a well-placed header in the 10th minute to give his team a 1-0 lead at half-time, but May Mahlangu struck back for South Africa in the 71st minute.
And while Mehdi Namli put Morocco in front again with no more than eight minutes remaining, Sangweni scored in the dying stages to earn a point for the hosts.
The 56,000-seater stadium was packed, with South African flags, green and gold T-shirts and painted faces among the proudly attired Bafana supporters. Earlier, the players were greeted by a massive roar of approval as they took to the field for their final stretches before the game.
Coach Gordon Igesund named an unchanged line-up for the match, with forward Tokelo Rantie recovering in time from a twisted ankle.
South Africa, who last reached the tournament’s quarterfinals in 2002 in Mali, finished top of Group A. They will face the Group B runners-up at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday.
Debutants Cape Verde Islands defeated Angola 2-1 in a simultaneous fixture in Port Elizabeth to finish second in the group. They will play the Group B winners in Port Elizabeth in the next round.