South Africa players during a warm up session
  • AFCON 2019 (Group D): South Africa 1-0 Namibia

South Africa has a realistic chance of progressing to the 2019 AFCON knock out round following a hard-fought 1-0 win over Namibia in Group D at the Al Salam Stadium on Friday.

Bongani Zungu headed home the lone strike on the night in the 64th minute.

This victory means that South Africa will have all to play for in their final Group D match against leaders Morocco on Monday with hopes of a last 16 place.

Bafana Bafana has three points at third place, same as second-placed Côte d’Ivoire but with an inferior goal difference.

South Africa head coach Stuart Baxter

South Africa will need to win and hope the Ivorians falter against Namibia and drop points, for them to go through automatically.

However, South Africa can still qualify to the second round if they avoid defeat whether or not the Ivorians win, as they can go through as one of the four best number three teams.

In a cagey affair against COSAFA rivals Namibia, South Africa knew they needed a victory at all costs if they were to retain hopes of progressing beyond the group stages.

South Africa players during a warm up session

And they got the all-important goal in the 6th minute when Zungu angled a header beyond the Namibian keeper off a Percy Tau corner.

Just three minutes before that, Bafana had dodged a bullet when Buhle Mkhwanazi cleared the ball off the line after Deon Hotto had taken an aim at goal when the ball fell kindly to him off a spilled ball from keeper Darren Keet.

It was a game that didn’t have many open scoring chances, but the South Africans will take the result anyway. Sibsiso Vlakazi threatened early with a shot from range on the quarter hour mark, but the effort went over the bar.

In the 35th minute, they had a chance when Sandile Hlanti served in an inviting cross but Themba Zwane’s header was straight at the keeper. Five minutes to the break, Tau came to the end of a promising team play by South Africa but his shot was straight at the keeper.

Tau weaved his way to the edge of the box before playing a one-two with Zwane but his shot went into the keeper’s waiting arms with 12 minutes to play.

While it was expected that Namibia would rise in attack and try to get an equalizer, it was Bafana who had more chances to score through Tau and Lebo Mothiba, but they couldn’t get anything past the keeper.

Tau was named man of the match.

David Isabirye is a senior staff writer for Kawowo Sports where he covers most of the major events.

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