The Bafana Bafana produced the biggest result of the tournament so far, sending the best team on the continent packing
South Africa delivered the most shocking result of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations on Tuesday night inside the Stade Laurent Pokou after they handed Morocco a 2-0 defeat to advance to the quarterfinals, Soccernet.ng reports.
Morocco, the first African nation to reach the semifinals of the World Cup, were the heavy favourites to beat South Africa, who struggled to make it past the group stage, in their Round-of-16 clash.
However, second-half goals from Evidence Makgopa and Teboho Mokoena powered the Bafana Bafana to a memorable win over the Atlas Lions.
Morocco would curse their luck as star man Achraf Hakimi missed a penalty kick in the 84th minute that would have drawn them level, and Sofyan Amrabat was shown a straight red card moments before South Africa scored their second goal.
With Morocco’s elimination, Nigeria are now the best-ranked team at the AFCON.
At the start of the competition, the Super Eagles were the sixth-best team behind number-one side Morocco, defending champions Senegal, Tunisia, 2019 AFCON winners Algeria, and Egypt.
However, Senegal lost on penalties to hosts Cote d’Ivoire on Monday night, while Egypt also fell on penalties to DR Congo, as the last-16 stage claimed some continental giants.
Interestingly, Tunisia and Algeria did not make it past the group stage.
Of the eight teams left in the competition, the Super Eagles are the leading candidates, as per the FIFA rankings, followed by Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, South Africa, Congo DR, Cape Verde, Guinea, and Angola.
For the quarterfinal pairings, Nigeria will face Angola, Congo Dr and Guinea will lock horns, Mali will trade tackles with Cote d’Ivoire, and the reward for South Africa’s giant-killing exploits is a meeting with Cape Verde.