CAPE TOWN, April 13 – After a spectacular, albeit lengthy draw ceremony in Cairo on Friday night, Bafana Bafana’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Group D opponents were revealed as Ivory Coast, Morocco and southern African neighbours Namibia.
The finals will take place in Egypt between 21 June and 19 July this year, with Bafana looking to make their mark on the continent once more after having failed to qualify for the 2017 tournament.
South Africa also missed the Afcon in 2010 and 2012, and apart from when they reached the quarter-finals on home soil in 2013, they have been eliminated at the group stage in four of their last five appearances.
Their recent qualification for the 2019 finals, after finishing behind Nigeria and ahead of Libya in Group E, had brought a measure of optimism back to the Bafana Bafana fold.
But that will now be tempered by the prospect of having to face an Ivory Coast side which won the competition in 2015 and who boast the likes of Serge Aurier (Tottenham), Eric Bailly (Manchester United United) and Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)
Morocco, 2004 Afcon champions, is a north African heavyweight with plenty of pedigree of their own, and they took part in the World Cup in Russia last year. The Atlas Lions are currently ranked as the fourth best team on the continent, with Ivory Coast in 10th spot, while South Africa are 14th and Namibia 28th.
Bafana have not lost to Namibia in their last seven matches dating back to 1998, but are likely to find their near neighbours fired up and out for an upset when they clash in the Land of the Pharaohs. (ANA)