South African soccer team fails to qualify for continental tournament due to technical error
October 20, 2011
Soccer fans across South Africa were devastated to learn that the national soccer team, Bafana Bafana, did not, in fact, qualify to take part in the African Cup of Nations next year.
The team and their fans rejoiced after the qualifying match ended in a goalless draw against Sierra Leone on October 1, believing that this meant they would be advancing to the finals since they led Sierra Leone in goals, according to BusinessWeek. However, the official rules state that it is not goal disparity that decides the victor in a qualifying game that results in a draw. Instead, the decision is made based on head-to-head records.
"Events in Nelspruit, in which Bafana players celebrated, thinking they had qualified for the finals, have left the entire nation devastated and in mourning," South African Football Association President Kirsten Nematandani said in a statement, the publication reports. "The failure by members of our technical team to acquaint themselves with some of the Confederation of African Football rules is unacceptable."
This is the third year in a row that Bafana has not qualified for the tournament, even though FIFA ranks them the eighth best team in Africa.