Sunday, August 16, 2009

16 August 1997 - The Bafana Bafana Play With The Big Boys

On 16 August 1997, South Africa beat Congo 1-0 at Soccer City (pictured) in Johannesburg. With the win, South Africa qualified for its first World Cup Finals ever. It was also the first time that any team from the southern part of Africa qualified for the Finals.

The victory was significant for the young Bafana Bafana, whose racially-unified team had been established only five years prior and were now pushing for the top of African football as one of only five sides qualifying from the CAF.

Their trip to the World Cup was short-lived, however, as a loss (to France, 3-0) and two draws (with Denmark, 1-1, and Saudi Arabia, 2-2) placed them third in their group and prevented them from advancing to the knockout rounds.

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