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Date: 28 July 2017

  Zimbabwean - Soccer

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S Africa, Cape Verde into quarters

[Posted 27 Jan 2013]
[By Brighton Mupangavanhu]
S Africa, Cape Verde into quarters

South Africa fought like gallant soldiers too come back from a deficit twice in their final Group A fixture against Morocco to draw 2-2 at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in South Africa's port city of Durban and emerge as group winners on five points, the same number of points as Cape Verde who came from behind to defeat Angola 2-1 at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.

Both match kicked off, and both Bafana Bafana and Cape Verde were first and second on the Group A table going into the final matches. And both teams needed a result to go through to the next round. South Africa needed at least a draw while Cape Verde had to beat Angola, and both did exactly that.

There was drama, suspense, excitement, agony, heartbreak and celebrations at either stadium on Sunday night.

At Moses Mabhida Stadium, the host nation was holding its breath as Morocco threatened to run away with maximum points. That result, given the permutations from the Cape Verde victory in the other Group A match, would have meant elimination of South Africa, and disaster for the tournament.

Issam El Adoua gave the North Africans a perfect start, heading in from a corner kick on 10 minutes. It needed about 61 minutes for Bafana Bafana to reply, and the equaliser was worth all the wait. May Mahlangu received a pass from outside the box, and the Swedish Footballer of the Year curled his effort beyond the reach of Nadir Lamyaghri.

Exactly ten minutes after the Bafana equaliser the gallant fighters of Morocco were back in the lead on 81 minutes through Mehdi Hafdi, but Morocco's lead was cut short in under six minutes as defender Siyabonga Sangweni scored the all important second equaliser for Bafana on 87 minutes.

The Southern Africans, former winners in 1996, were to hold on and the match ended 2-2, with Moroccan players feeling the pain at Moses Mabhida, while the entire stadium was in delirium...a tale of mixed fortunes!

There was also jubilation for the tiny island of Cape Verde, which has a reported population of about 500 000 people who came from behind to knock Angola out of the AFCON 2013 with a 2-1 win at the Nnelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.

After falling behind in unfortunate circumstances when Nando scored an own goal, the islanders equalised through Fernando Varela before Heldon stole the winner at the stroke of full time to earn the team a passsage into the last eight in their first ever attempt at the AFCON finals.

That was a remarkable achievement by Cape Verde, and they have made history for themselves.

Yet it is the host nation that has torched wild celebrations through out the country, some might say, premature celebrations since the tournament is still very young. South Africans will be pleased with the team's fighting spirit, even though it will be a big ask to expect the players to go on to lift the cup on home soil.

Bafana still have a lot of homework to do in organising their defence. The partnership of captain Bongani Khumalo and Sangweni does not inspire much confidence as they had Itumeleng Khune to thank for keeping the score at 2-2 at the end of the match today.

South Africa could easily have lost that match 5-2 was it not for Khune's form and brilliance in goal today. The Kaizer Chiefs captain deservedly walked away with the Man of the Match award.

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Melusi Mkwebu posted comment on 28-Jan-2013 01:42:01

for CAPE VERDE i salute them, they have proven that they are good nation in football despite making their first appearance they have shown that they is future in the nation and most credit goes to the coach whose substitutions bore fruit.And for southafrica they were lucky to win. but we rally and still continue to support them SANGWENI was competely remarkably and extraordinary.


Melusi Mkwebu posted comment on 28-Jan-2013 01:42:00

for CAPE VERDE i salute them, they have proven that they are good nation in football despite making their first appearance they have shown that they is future in the nation and most credit goes to the coach whose substitutions bore fruit.And for southafrica they were lucky to win. but we rally and still continue to support them SANGWENI was competely remarkably and extraordinary.

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