Molefi Ntseki (Gallo Images)
Bafana Bafana failed to qualify for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament as Molefi Ntseki’s side fell at the final hurdle in a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Sudan at the Al-Hilal Stadium on Sunday.
Needing a minimum of two draws heading into their final two qualifiers, Bafana Bafana fell short after being held to a 1-1 draw at home to Ghana before Sunday’s defeat in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum.
Sudan (12 points) join Group C winners, Ghana (13 points) in successfully qualifying as Bafana Bafana (10 points) finish third followed by minnows Sao Tome (0 points).
This is the fifth time since Tunisia 1994 that Bafana have failed to qualify for an Afcon after they also missed out on the 2010, 2012 and 2017 editions of the continental showpiece.
The 2021 tournament, postponed due to Covid-19, will be hosted in Cameroon in January.
The defeat will undoubtedly place the spotlight firmly on Ntseki’s position as head coach after Bafana, ranked 71st in the world, were beaten by a Sudan side ranked 127th in the FIFA rankings.
Sudan grabbed an early lead in the 5th minute through a Malik Bakhit effort from a set-piece situation as the away side got off to the worst possible start.
Despite hitting the woodwork shortly after, things went from bad to worse for Bafana as the Sudanese doubled their lead, somewhat against the run of play as Abdelrahman Yousif struck in the 31st minute.
Sudan managed to hold onto their lead to sensationally book a spot in next year’s tournament in Cameroon with two wins in their final two fixtures.
For Bafana Bafana, it means another disappointing qualifying campaign that ends in failure with the senior men’s national team continuing to under-perform.