The hopes of Bafana Bafana qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Cameroon next years finals disappeared into the humid night air at the Al-Hilal Stadium, Omdurman, as Sudan claimed a 2-0 win over the South African side in the final Group C clash on Sunday evening.
Sudan and Ghana are now through to the tournament continental showpiece in Cameroon.
Sudan’s two first-half goals in the shoot-out for Cameroon qualification sealed Bafana Bafana’s fate.
Sudan started bright and looked sharp in the first opening minutes, set off at a great pace, and they took the South Africans by surprise.
Sudan’s early free-kick after the Bafana Bafana were blown up for a foul some 20 metres from their penalty area, resulting in a set-piece, which they failed to clear, gave the host a deserving lead. Midfielder Malik Bakhit”s header flew past goalkeeper Ronwen Williams for the opening goal of the match, in the fourth minute.
The Bafana Bafana responded well, created at least two chances in about six minutes – the best opportunity came through striker Percy Tau, but he was thwarted by a desperate tackle as he tried to pull the trigger from just outside the penalty area.
Sudan’s defence did everything to cope with the pressure. They conceded three corners but the South Africa team failed to capitalise on them. They had enjoyed the lion share of the possession (62%).
Despite the possession, it was the Bafana Bafana team who gave away possession out wide on the left flank, allowing Sudan to go further ahead in the 31st minute as an innocuous kick upfield across to the opposite side of the field caught South Africa’s defence napping, and the unmarked Abdelrahman Yousif latched on to the ball. He darted in from 20 metres out and scored with two defenders trying to dispossess him (2-0).
Again, just like they reacted after the first goal, The Bafana Bafana side responded with a pressure spell, and several scoring chances and two close-in free-kicks emerged. Somehow, Sudan’s defence remained intact as several scoring efforts were marginally wide of the uprights.
South Africa had managed 11 shots at goal, with three on target before the referee Martins de Carvalho of Angola blew for halftime. Bafana Bafana also had a total of six corners to work with, but their set-piece ability was well below par in the first half.
When the second-half play started, Sudan showed a greater sense of urgency as the opening 10 minutes were spent in the Sudan half. The marksmen were hesitant in the striking zone and on occasions, final passes went astray.
The match ended 2-0 despite the Bafana Bafana having the lion share of the possession.
The loss means that South Africa will not be featuring in Cameroon come January 2022.