When Mashaba named his squad to represent the country at the 2015 instalment of Afcon, all of the selections went as predicted, except for the exclusion of Thulani Serero, who is widely regarded as South Africa’s most creative footballer. Bafana were very confident heading into the tournament, with players and fans alike believing that this is the year to emulate the 1996 Afcon winning performance.
The tournament kicked off in the worst possible way for the South African outfit. Bafana squandered a one goal lead, missed a penalty and went on to lose 3-1 to the Algerians.
Leading into the game against Senegal, Bafana welcomed back Eric Mathoho and Reneilwe Letsholanyane after they served their suspensions. This was still not enough to spur the team on to get the much needed three points. The teams played off to a 1-1 draw after Senegal cancelled out the South African lead. Bafana dropped points from a winning position and went on to do so again against Ghana. In their final group C, game Bafana were one up early in the first half after a goal from Mandla Masango. Ghana equalised in the 67th minute with a goal from John Boye. Andre Ayew destroyed any chance of a Bafana comeback when he scored a second goal for Ghana in the 83rd minute.
Bafana finished at the bottom of group C after getting only one point in three games, while Algeria and Ghana go through to the next round of the tournament.
Illustration: Johann van Tonder