A little more than a year
after hosting a successful World Cup, South Africa woke up with
a giant hangover on Sunday after a failure to understand the
rules saw them miss out on qualification for the African Nations
Coach Pitso Mosimane (pictured) admitted he had changed tactics and
played for a draw in Saturday's final qualifier at home to
Sierra Leone, thinking it was sufficient to win the group and
qualify for the 2012 finals.
South Africa actually needed a win to avoid being eliminated
on head-to-head results between the three teams tied at the top
of the table, but no one appeared to have studied the
Despite playing out the draw, they were pipped by outsiders
Niger, who qualified for the first time.
More embarrassingly, the Bafana Bafana celebrated their
supposed qualification at the end of the scoreless stalemate in
Nelspruit, thinking they had done enough to advance to next
year's finals co-hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
"It's very sad for South Africa because the country deserves
to be in next year's Nations Cup. I feel like I have failed,"
Mosimane told reporters.
The coach, who took over after the World Cup, was under the
impression that goal difference was the determining factor to
decide the group winners and when he was told that leaders Niger
were losing in Egypt, he changed tactics and settled for a draw.
Niger had led South Africa by a point going into the final
round of qualifiers on Saturday.
"Do you think I would have left [striker Lehlohonolo] Majoro
on the bench and put on a midfielder if I knew that we needed a
goal? It doesn't make sense," Mosimane said, before criticising
"Africa is a jungle, my friend," Mosimane added. "The
European and South American formats are so much better because
everything is running smoothly, but it's very difficult to play
Mosimane was not the only one to fall foul of a misreading
of the rules.
The state-run African Broadcasting Corporation proclaimed
qualification and the South African Football Association
president Kirsten Nematandani went on television to congratulate
He and Mosimane are now likely to face calls to resign.
The South African FA attempted a damage limitation exercise
later on Sunday, sending a protest letter to the Cairo-based
Confederation of African Football arguing its team's failure to
win top place in the qualifying group was unfair.
"We have noted that CAF has announced that Niger has
qualified in our group, despite South Africa finishing on top of
the group in terms of goal difference, which is the universally
recognised means of separating teams who are equal on points,"
the SFA letter said.
"We believe that the team finishing top of the log at the
end of the competition is automatically determined at the end of
90 minutes play, and that the second place is determined by the
other rules," it added in a baffing explanation of its case.
"We will lay out our objection more fully shortly, but in
the meantime wish to signal that we intend to challenge this
interpretation and application of the rules."
Dutch players imprisoned for shocking death
One more season, but then...
Malaga man maintains Manchester/Madrid mania
Maracana applauds deep-lying playmaker
Who would you rather have playing for your club?
12 months out, the stars look to the World Cup
Your questions answered by an A to Z of legends
75% of all TV is Bale
On the road to ruin
Adidas Nitrocharge for you
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010