A 2-2 draw against Morocco’s Lions of Atlas was enough to send South Africa’s Bafana Bafana into the quarter-finals and plunge the host nation into a night of excitement and joy. Disappointing Morocco led 2-1 with eight minutes to go, but the loss of concentration and over-confidence got hold of them, and they let in a silly goal that sealed their fate and sent them home empty-handed.
Issam El Adoua opened the score in the 10th minute and May Mahlangu equalised in the 71st minute for the host nation. Abdelilah Hafidi then doubled the mark for the North African team in the 82nd minute, but it was not over yet. The hosts pushed many men forward and put pressure on the Lions, and they were finally rewarded with a well-taken goal by Siyabonga Sangweni in the 86th minute.
However, the big surprise of the night and the competition was the unexpected qualification of the Blue sharks of Cape Verde, who beat their lusophone brothers of Angola 2-1 in Port-Elizabeth.
Nobody gave the West African Islanders a slight chance to progress to the second round, let alone to score a goal in this competition despite eliminating Cameroon from the finals. But they proved all the pundits and soccer analysts wrong and got the unlikely result they were not even dreaming of.
In the 80th minute, Fernando Varela cancelled the Angolan lead scored by their own captain Nando Neves, and Heldon doubled the mark with a few minutes left to play.
Surely they have made history, and their victory will be the centre of the sport news in all the local and international media.
Boa sorte for the rest of competition.
*Photo by Getty Images