Bafana Bafana were drawn in what may be termed the ‘Group of Death’ in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Cairo on Friday night.
In a dramatic setting among the pyramids in the Egyptian capital, Stuart Baxter’s team were put up against Morocco, Ivory Coast and Namibia in Group D.
While they avoided other heavyweights such as Egypt, Nigeria, Tunisia and Cameroon, they will face one of the 2018 World Cup participants in the Moroccans, who were one of the top seeds in the draw.
With only the top two sides from each group guaranteed of going through to the round of 16, Bafana’s main task will be to get past Morocco and Ivory Coast.
They should have the beating of neighbours Namibia, but if South Africa are unable to be in the top two in the group, they will have to be one of the best four third-placed teams across the six pools.
But Baxter will draw confidence from the fact that Bafana produced a win and a draw against Nigeria in qualifying, so they will not be overawed by Morocco and Ivory Coast.
Hosts Egypt will play the opening game against Zimbabwe in Group A on 21 June, with the other sides in the pool being DR Congo and Uganda, while defending champions Cameroon’s toughest Group F opponents will be Ghana.
Nigeria, who topped their qualifying group that include Bafana, will be pleased with their outcome on Friday night, as they will face Guinea, Madagascar and Burundi.
The 2019 Afcon will take place from 21 June to 19 July in Egypt.
2019 Africa Cup of Nations Draw
Group A: Egypt, DR Congo, Uganda, Zimbabwe
Group B: Nigeria, Guinea, Madagascar, Burundi
Group C: Senegal, Algeria, Kenya, Tanzania
Group D: Morocco, Ivory Coast, South Africa, Namibia
Group E: Tunisia, Mali, Mauritania, Angola
Group F: Cameroon, Ghana, Benin, Guinea-Bissau