26 January 2013

South Africa/Morocco: Stadium Sells Out As Revived Bafana Face Lions

Photo: Barry Aldworth/BackpagePix
May Mahlangu of South Africa scores one of the goals which took the host team through to the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations.

South Africa likely need only draw with Morocco to get through to the African Nations Cup quarter-finals but will want to continue to build momentum and turn themselves into genuine title contenders.

Bafana Bafana have made the tournament come alive with their 2-0 win over Angola on Wednesday, which came as a relief to the host nation and added much-needed energy to the tournament.

It was followed by a shock draw for Morocco, held by the tiny Cape Verde islands in a 1-1 tie at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

That has left the Atlas Lions with just two points and needing to beat the hosts if they are to go through.

But, despite their star-packed squad, they have shown little potential to post a win in the tournament, failing to use to their advantage their possession in both of their Group A matches against Angola and Cape Verde.

Their talismanic midfielder Younes Belhanda will miss the game through suspension, but his form has been so horrid that it will come as a blessing.

Morocco now have to look to the likes of Youssef Al Arabi and Mounir El Hamdaoui to turn around their fortunes.

South Africa have a mini-crisis with striker Lehlohonolo Majoro out after being cut on the shin in the last game against Angola, while Tokelo Rantie pulled up with an ankle injury and did not train on Friday.

They join Kagisho Dikgacoi and Lerato Chabangu on the treatment table, though the latter two have a good chance of being involved on Sunday.

Tickets for game are sold out, the South African Football Association said on Friday.

"Those with tickets, please don't stay at home, we want to see the stadium full," said SAFA president Kirsten Nemantandani.

If Bafana finish top of the group they will stay in Durban for the quarter-finals.

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