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