Sunday Times


Boot suits, says Sazi Hadebe after latest Bafana debacle


While Bafana Bafana failed to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations to be hosted by Cameroon early in 2022 after losing 2-0 to 1970 winners Sudan in Khartoum on Sunday, 23 other countries, including 11 previous winners, confirmed their places in the 24team tournament.

Record seven-times winners Egypt will lead the charge for the trophy among the previous holders as the battle to wrestle the title from 2019 champions Algeria, who beat Senegal 1-0 in the 2019 final in Egypt in 2019, begins in January.

Ghana (four titles), who are third behind Cameroon (five titles), qualified alongside Nigeria (3), Ivory Coast (2), Algeria (2), Sudan (1), Morocco (1), Tunisia (1) and Ethiopia (1).

South Africa, Congo, Zambia and DR Congo were the four previous winners who failed to qualify for next year’s showpiece.

Senegal, who have qualified for the 16th time, are among the big guns who have never won the tournament but who, with the likes of Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso will be among the dark horses to challenge for the trophy in the 25th edition.

Gambia and Comoros made history by qualifying for the first time while the likes of Zimbabwe, Malawi, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Mauritania, Cape Verde and Gabon are part of those with fewer than 10 appearance­s who made the cut.

Winner of that match

The match between Sierra Leone and Benin was postponed after six Benin players tested positive for Covid-19. The winner of that match, which will be played in June, will join the other 23 teams in a tournament which commences on January 9.

The draw for Afcon 2021 (it’s still officially called Afcon 2021 despite being played in 2022) will be made on June 25, following the Sierra Leone/Benin reschedule­d match.

The organisers of next year’s tournament are yet to announce whether spectators will be allowed to attend matches, but many qualifiers were played behind closed doors.

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