What a weekend to remember for all South African football fans. The boys in green and gold showed all of Africa why they have a place in the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) when they qualified for the round of 8 by defeating host nation, Egypt, in the round of 16.
Bafana Bafana have had an interesting journey in this year’s tournament so far. They made a comeback from being at the bottom of their group after three games. These matches consisted of two losses against Ivory Coast and Morocco, and one win against Namibia. Their hope of moving up the log and playing in the last 16 lay firmly in the performance of Namibia.
The pressure was on. In order for South Africa to advance, Namibia had to either draw or lose against Ivory Coast. In the end Namibia lost 4-1 to Ivory Coast, meaning that South Africa could move on to the round of 16.
As historic as that moment was, more history was yet to be made by Bafana Bafana. On Saturday they defeated seven-time AFCON champions and host country, Egypt, 1-0. Though South Africa have won against Egypt in the past, their victory this time was unexpected and against the odds since Egypt had won all three of their group matches in the 2019 AFCON.
Thembinkosi Lorch scored in the 85th minute, helping the boys take the lead in front of over 70,000 football fans at the Cairo International Stadium. Thanks to that last minute goal South Africa will head to the quarter finals.
Even though Lorch was the under-dog in the tournament, as fans had their eyes on Percy Tau, he swung the South African flag high that night, and lifted the spirits of all South Africans. The nation had gotten a taste of his skill-set in the 2018/19 ABSA Premiership when he kicked the ball into the net in the 85th min. That earned him the Player of the Year award.
So you can celebrate, Mzansi, but remember the game is not over yet. Bafana Bafana still need to display their skills, talents and, most importantly, their heart to the rest of Africa as they play in the quarterfinals against African giants, Nigeria. The game will take place on Wednesday night at 21:00.