How Bafana have developed a taste for shocking host nations

08 July 2019 - 14:30 By Mark Gleeson
Egypt's Mohamed Salah reacts after South Africa's Thembinkosi Lorch scored.
Egypt's Mohamed Salah reacts after South Africa's Thembinkosi Lorch scored.
Image: REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

SA’s success over Egypt in Cairo at the weekend was not the first time that Bafana Bafana have upset the host nation at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) – they did the same in 2000.

The 1-0 win over Ghana in Kumasi on February 6 stunned the tournament in the same way as Egypt were left speechless by the heroics of Thembinkosi Lorch and team-mates at the Cairo International Stadium on Saturday night.

Both are among the finest away triumphs for the national team – and South Africa is the only country to have done it twice.

In 2000‚ it might have been even tougher as Bafana played all but three minutes of the second half down to 10 men when Eric Tinkler was sent off in the 48th minute.

“People couldn’t believe we could beat the strong side they had with Sammy Kuffour and Stephen Appiah‚” remembers then coach Trott Moloto.

“They had with 95 percent of their players from clubs in Europe. We had to fight with our backs to the wall‚ defending with 10 players in the second half.

“But we were so strong and we believed Ghana couldn’t beat (us).

"It was so good to see our boys believing the same things against Egypt and doing it‚” he added.

Siyabonga Nomvete scored South Africa’s winner that night.

Current Bafana technical staff members Andre Arendse and Mark Fish were also in the line-up and will no doubt have reminded the current generation of the feat.

But for those who believe in omens‚ what followed was not what they would like to read on the eve of Wednesday’ quarterfinal meeting with Nigeria in Cairo.

After beating Ghana in 2000‚ Bafana also were next up against the Super Eagles.

But they contrived to undo all the good work as a defensive slip saw them give up a first minute goal‚ followed by another after 32 minutes to see Nigeria through to the final with a one-sided 2-0 win.

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