It must have been parties galore on Saturday in Durban following South Africa’s national soccer team, Bafana Bafana’s qualification to the AFCON finals which will be hosted by Equatorial Guinea from January to February in 2015. Bafana found the back of the net twice to seal their fate in the African soccer showpiece in a match that was emotionally charged following the shooting of Senzo Meyiwa last month.
The match started off balanced as each team tested the other to find the weaknesses and attempt to exploit them to their advantage. It appears that that was exactly what the hosts did towards the end of the first half when Thulani Serero latched on to beautiful sweater following a string of creative play from defender Rivaldo Coetzee and Tokelo Rantjie. Despite the pressure weighing down on him from the crowd in the sold out Moses Mabhida Stadium, Serero calmly slotted the opener with the Sudanese goalkeeper beaten all systems out.
When the teams returned from the “oranges”, the visitors tried to claw their way back into the game but their efforts were quickly dealt a massive blow when Serero was at it again, turning provider when, after latching onto a lose ball in the middle of the park, he played it strategically into the path of oncoming Tokelo who let lose a blistering shot into the top right corner of the Sudanese goal past a hapless goalie. The Dean Furman skippered side could have extended their lead had it not been for Bongani Ndulula who seemed to have left his scoring boots at the Mbombela Stadium where the match had originally been set to be played. It was moved to the KZN stadium as a sign of respect to slain Meyiwa who was a son of the province. Ndulula shot wide from close range with the Sudanese goal keeper on where to be seen.
The visitors were however not to be outdone as in the 77th minute, they pulled one back setting the scene for a close end to this fast paced encounter courtesy of a strike from Sulah Ibrahim who had been left unattended by the South African defence.
This means the Bafana Bafana outfit is already in the hat for the draw to make up the groups of teams that will play in the biennial Afcon finals which were originally meant to be held in Morocco from January 13 to February 8. Morocco pulled out of hosting the finals after the Confederation of African Football did not accede to their request to have the finals postponed to June. After a tense few weeks when it seemed that there were no takers for the hosts of the soccer showcase, a few weeks in which the CAF executive are reported to have approached and were snubbed by the South African government, they announced on Friday that the finals would be held in Equatorial Guinea.