29 April 2014
Bafana Bafana have been drawn to face their nemesis Nigeria, among others, in qualification for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, to be hosted by Morocco. The draw was made in Cairo, Egypt, on Sunday.
Nigeria won the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa, defeating Burkina Faso 1- 0 in the final, while South Africa was eliminated in the quarterfinals after losing to Mali in a penalty shootout.
Since that time, Bafana Bafana has twice lost to Nigeria. In August 2013, the Super Eagles beat South Africa 2-0 in Durban in the annual Nelson Mandela Challenge. Then, in January, in the African Nations Cup, which featured national teams made up of home-based players only, Nigeria scored a 3-1 win over Bafana to knock them out of the tournament.
Besides the Super Eagles, South Africa will also face Sudan and one of Namibia, DR Congo (Brazzaville), Libya and Rwanda, with those four teams competing for one place in Group A.
Despite the tough draw, Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund declared himself happy with what it had thrown up for his charges.
‘A fair draw’
“It is a fair draw and I think we should be one of the two countries that qualify to the finals in Morocco,” he said in a statement.
“I was not expecting an easy draw because all countries are competitive, but I am very hopeful of qualifying for Morocco 2015.
“The past two years of my tenure have been the most difficult ones, but now I do have a core of around 30 players on which to choose from and Bafana Bafana should be one of the countries going to Morocco,” he added.
‘Group of Death’
Igesund selected Group D, which features Africa’s number one ranked team, the Ivory Coast, Cameroon and the DR Congo as the “Group of Death”.
Group G, which features Egypt, Tunisia and Senegal is also expected to be very tightly contested.
Distribution and locations
At the draw, the distribution of the groups and their locations was also announced.
Group A will be based in Marrakech, where the opening match of the tournament will take place. Agadir will be home to Group B, Rabat will host Group C and the tournament final, while Group D’s host will be Tangier.
Afcon 2015 will be played from 17 January to 8 February, with the final draw for the event set to be held in Rabat on 26 November.
The event has been extended by one day after the organisers decided to play the two semi-finals on different days. Previously they were played on the same day.
Group A: Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, winner of Namibia/Congo/Libya/Rwanda
Group B: Mali, Algeria, Ethiopia, Sao Tome/Benin/Malawi/Chad
Group C: Burkina Faso, Angola, Gabon, winner of Liberia/Lesotho/Kenya/Comoros
Group D: Ivory Coast, Cameroon, DR Congo, winner of Swaziland/Sierra Leone/Gambia/Seychelles
Group E: Ghana, Togo, Guinea, winner of Madagascar/Uganda/Mauritania/Equatorial Guinea
Group F: Zambia, Cape Verde, Niger, winner of Tanzania/Zimbabwe/Mozambique/South Sudan
Group G: Tunisia, Egypt, Senegal, winner of Burundi/Botswana/CAR/Guinea Bissau