SAfrica soccer team celebrates, misses African Cup

Updated: Oct 09, 2011, 08:54 AM IST

Nelspruit (South Africa): South Africa`s soccer team did a lap around the stadium and danced in front of cheering fans to celebrate making the African Cup of Nations.

Small problem: South Africa didn`t qualify.

Its 0-0 draw with Sierra Leone left South Africa tied with Niger and Sierra Leone, and ahead on goal differential — which is usually good enough to advance.

But the Confederation of African Football used head-to-head results among the three teams as a tiebreaker. That sent Niger to the tournament in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea and left South Africa out.

"Let`s hear what CAF says," coach Pitso Mosimane said in a TV interview. "Did we qualify? What do you think? If we`ve qualified I`m very happy.

"I don`t know."

With Egypt dominating Niger in Cairo, South Africa played defensively in the second half of a scrappy match believing a draw would be sufficient.

Niger lost 3-0, and its players didn`t celebrate, despite making the continental championship for the first time.

Bureau Report