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Bafana Suffer COSAFA Cup Shock

Tournament hosts South Africa suffered heartbreak after crashing out of the 2024 COSAFA Cup despite their 1-0 win over minnows eSwatini at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Gqeberha on Tuesday afternoon.

The hosts wasted no time, taking the lead just three minutes into play through Mamelodi Sundowns striker Thabang Sibanyoni’s powering header past Xolani Gama to make it 1-0 to Bafana.

Asanele Velebayi came inches close to doubling Bafana’s lead in the 13th minute but was unfortunate to see his attempt sail across the face of goal.

A brace was looming for the Bafana number 13 but his glancing header in the 18th minute missed the target.

eSwatini missed a glorious chance to level matters after Bafana were caught in sixes-and-sevens in the 26th minute. With only Mondli Mpoto to beat, Sizolwethu Shabalala blasted his shot wide.

Sihlangu Semnikati thought they had found the equalizer in the 30th minute but were flagged offside.

South Africa was denied making it 2-0 in the 37th minute. Gama rushed off his line to produce a brilliant save from Ashley Cupido, as Helman Mkhalele’s troops took the 1-0 advantage into the break.

The ‘visitors’ missed the best chance of the match in the 61st minute when Magagula Junior’s header missed an opened net, with Mpoto well beaten.

In the 78th minute, Mpoto pulled off one-handed save from Siphephelo Philiso’s left foot curler destined for the far corner.

Sibanyoni was wasteful again, this time in the 86th minute from close range as Gama denied him.

The Kingdom of eSwatini thwarted Bafana’s threat in the remaining minutes as the tie ended 1-0.

Mkhalele’s men finished second in Group A, but crashed out by virtue of finishing neither as group winners nor best runner-up.

New champions will also be crowned at this year’s edition after holders Zambia suffered a shock 1-0 defeat at the hands of Comoros to all but crash out after finishing rock bottom of Group B with zero points.

Cliffird Thudinyane
Cliffird Thudinyane
Cliffird Thudinyane is a detail-oriented Content Writer and Editor with 10+ years of experience, specialising in online web content. Previously the Sports Content Editor at Opera News SA and Sub-editor at Soccer Laduma, 'Cliff' now heads up the role of Content Manager Assistant on the iDiski Times website.