Bafana Bafana, SA’s National soccer team, wins the Africa Cup of Nations Final

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Neil Tovey and President Nelson Mandela celebrate the victoryNeil Tovey and President Nelson Mandela celebrate the victory. : http://www.guid

Saturday, 3 February 1996

South African were the host of the Africa Cup of Nations Tournament in 1996. It was the national team,  Bafana Bafana’s second appearance in the tournament. They had been unbanned just four years prior to the tournament and were generally thought of as the underdogs. In their maiden appearance in the 1994 edition of the tournament, they failed to qualify for the finals, finishing third in the qualifiers.

Under Coach Clive Barker, they soon proved to be quite a strong side when they topped their group following victories over Angola, (1-0) and Cameroon, (3-0). In the quarter finals Bafana faced what seemed to be the strongest team in the tournament – Ghana. Ghana had been the only unbeaten side in the tournament, till they faced Bafana and were beaten 3-0.

To everyone’s surprise, Bafana made it to the final round where they faced Tunisia. They beat Tunisia by two goals to one, and were crowned Africa’s champions. It was a historic moment for South Africa and African soccer at large. Clive Barker and his team became national heroes.

The match was attended by then President Nelson Mandela, who had become famous for his ‘Madiba magic’ throughout the tournament. ; It became somewhat of a legend that whenever Mandela attended a match, that South Africa always came out victorious. The victory was celebrated nationwide with people (black and white) taking to the streets to celebrate.

References:
• B. Morgan, ‘Bafana Bafana: a quick history’ from South Africa.info [online] available at: www.southafrica.info [Accessed on 11 January 2012]
• Cape Town Magazine Bafana Bafana: Part 3: Accomplishments So Far from Cape Town Magazine [online] Available at: www.capetownmagazine.com [Accessed on 11 January 2012]

Last updated : 17-Jan-2014

This article was produced for South African History Online on 27-Jan-2012