Bafana Bafana’s chances of making it to the Africa Cup of Nations 2017 were ended as they played out to a frustrating 0-0 draw with Cameroon, in their qualifier at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Tuesday.
Needing to win to keep their qualification hopes alive, the goalless stalemate was not anything close to what South Africa had envisioned from the clash.
With the draw, South Africa move to three points from four matches while Cameroon rise to eight points.
The hosts had by far the better chances throughout the match with SA shot-stopper Itumeleng Khune hardly tested, but a lack of finishing cost Bafana.
Bizarrely, for much of the first period Shakes Mashaba’s troops employed a noticeably slow pace of play which yielded little.
Bafana were awarded a free kick in a dangerous position in the third minute. Sifiso Hlanti, on debut, stepped up to reel off a well-struck attempt which required a good save from Cameroon keeper Fabrice Ondoa.
Hlanti was involved again in the 14th minute, this time as provider, as he sent a ball into the area which found Thulani Hlatshwayo whose close range header was tipped over goal by Ondoa.
Cameroon’s first chance came just after the quarter hour mark, as Edgard Salli made a quick turn before reeling off an attempt, but the shot was directed wide of the Bafana goal.
The visitors had another chance in the 27th minute, this time from a setpiece. Bafana conceded a free kick just outside the area, but Cameroon captain Vincent Aboubakar’s shot was well-over the target.
Bafana had a great chance on the half hour mark, Tokelo Rantie made a surging run into the Cameroon box before crossing for Thulani Serero, who instead of shooting from close range directed the ball tamely across the face of goal in what appeared to be an aimless pass.
Hlanti produced an excellent strike in the 58th minute. From a free kick near the touchline, Hlanti sent in a curling shot on goal but Ondoa again was able to tip over the danger.
Hlompho Kekana followed up with a powerful shot moments later for the hosts, but his long range effort was directed just to the left of goal.
As the game began to open up just after 60 minutes played, Cameroon replied with a great chance of their own. Daniel Ndi was left one-on-one with Khune, but the Bafana keeper was able to block the shot before his scurrying defence were able to regain possession.
There were chances for both sides in the closing stages of the match, but an opener would remain elusive.