Bafana Bafana

Bafana's AFCON chances are slim

2016-05-06 11:58
Bafana Bafana training (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - "If Leicester City can win the English Premiership," suggested one SAFA pundit, "anything is possible in soccer."

He was clutching hopefully at straws over the possibility of South Africa qualifying for next year's African Nations Cup.

But if Bafana Bafana fail to achieve a victory in the next of two remaining qualifying matches against Gambia,  which SAFA this week released would be staged at 19:00 (SA time) at the Independence Stadium in Bakau on Saturday, June 4, South Africa will summarily and a little shamefully be eliminated from competing in the event in Gabon.

But more foreboding for Bafana's prospect of not winning this penultimate qualifying fixture is the fact that even if victory is achieved in Gambia, qualifying for AFCON will remain negligible - much like surviving a pistol shot from an assailant who is now aiming a deadly machine gun.

And herein is the reason. Without a win from their four opening qualifying matches - three draws and one defeat - Bafana, with three points against Cameroon's eight and Mauritania's seven, already have no viable chance of winning qualifying Group M and securing one of the 13 places allocated to group winners.

This leaves Bafana hanging by a thread in the hope of securing a Nations Cup spot by finishing as one of the two best second-placed sides among the 13 qualifying groups.

However, if two of any of six second-placed teams, Benin (with eight points) and Tunisia, Togo, Central African Republic, Benin, Uganda and Mauritania, all with seven accumulated points, achieve one victory from their two remaining games this will also mean the end of the Nations dream for South Africa.

And, perhaps, emphasising Bafana's plight to an even greater extent is the stark realisation that no fewer than 33 teams are currently better placed than Bafana to ultimately secure one of the 15 qualifying places for Gabon. 

Leicester City, at 5 000 to one before the start of the English Premiership, may have defied odds that were greater than those the bookmakers were offering on Elvis Presley being alive at a secret hide-out or Lady Gaga becoming the president of the United States.

But miracles do not happen every day - not even in soccer and certainly not when the statistics are weighed so heavily as those against Bafana.


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Bafana Bafana have been drawn with Cameroon, Gambia and Mauritania in the qualification stages for the 2017 AFCON tournament. Where will Shakes Mashaba's men finish in their pool?

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