Bafana edge closer to 2012 Afcon finals

Monday, March 28, 2011

Pretoria - A late goal by Katlego "Killer" Mphela against Egypt on Saturday boosted Bafana Bafana's chance of qualifying for the 2012 African Nations Cup (Afcon) finals in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon next year. 

With this crucial win against the reigning African champions, the Pharaohs, Bafana are still on top of Group G with seven points from three games. South Africa is followed by Niger with six points, Sierra Leone with two and Egypt with one point. 

The painful defeat leaves the Egyptians with a tough task of qualifying for the 2012 Afcon finals and they might attribute their loss to not having trained for the past two months as result of the uprisings in their country. 

In the first half, Bafana played very well, but the combination of Mphela and Bernard Parker was not working and South African fans started demanding that the two be replaced. 

However, Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane only replaced Bernard Parker with Orlando Pirates pacey striker, Tlou Segolela. In the dying minutes of the match, Mphela silenced his critics with his brilliant goal. 

The Egyptian plan to take over in the last 10 minutes by introducing their star players, Mohamed Zidan and Mohamed Aboutrika, to push as offensive players upfront proved fruitless as Bafana defence remain solid. 

After the match, Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane said: "It's important for me to stay on top of the group. We never thought we would win this game at that stage, but we just needed hope and belief and here we are now."

The two teams will be on the second leg of the 2012 Afcon qualifying race in Cairo on 3 June and Bafana will then travel to Niger before they play underdogs Sierra Leone at home in October. 

In another Group G Afcon qualify match, Niger hammered Sierra Leone 3-1. 

Meanwhile on Sunday, the national under-23 team, Amaglug-glug, beat their Libyan counterparts 4-2 in a 2012 London Olympic qualifier match played at Sinaba stadium in Daveyton.