Bongani Zungu (Gallo Images)

Bongani Zungu (Gallo Images)

Cairo – France-based
Bongani Zungu scored as an unimpressive South Africa laboured to a 1-0
Africa Cup of Nations Group D win over Namibia on Friday to keep alive
hopes of making the second round. 

However, to book a last-16 place the winners will probably need at
least a point against leaders Morocco, who defeated the Ivory Coast 1-0
in the first match of a double-header.

Already qualified Morocco have six points, the Ivory Coast and South
Africa three each and Namibia remained pointless after two solitary-goal
losses.

With Ivory Coast set to beat Namibia Monday, the best South Africa
can realistically hope for is one of four places reserved for the best
third-place finishers.

It looks increasingly likely that teams coming third in the six
groups will need a minimum of four points to be among the quartet that
survives. 

Zungu netted on 68 minutes with a header off a corner to settle a
match that lacked the quality of the clash between Morocco and the Ivory
Coast.

South Africa made four changes to the team that started in a loss to
the Ivory Coast four days ago, including the shock demotion of
goalkeeper Ronwen Williams, who was outstanding. 

He was replaced by Darren Keet and Hlompho Kekana, Zungu and Sibusiso
Vilakazi were also promoted with Kamohelo Mokotjo, Lebohang Maboe and
injured Dean Furman dropping out.

Namibia coach Ricardo Mannetti included Egypt-based Benson Shilongo
for Absalom Limbondi in the lone change to the side that unluckily lost
to Morocco after conceding a late own-goal. 

South Africa had a chance to go ahead on 16
minutes, but Vilakazi blazed over at the Al Salam Stadium in the
Egyptian capital after a Themba Zwane backheel gave him a clear sight of
goal.

Mannetti must have been pleased when the 21st minute passed as he was
part of the side trailing South Africa 4-0 at that point when they last
met 21 years ago in Burkina Faso.

Now retired Benni McCarthy scored all four Bafana Bafana goals in the victory and how England-born coach Stuart Baxter must have
longed for someone similarly clinical in this match.

South Africa had plenty of possession, but lacked creativity in the
final third of the pitch and their frustration led to many hopeful,
long-range shots. 

Namibia, with four South Africa-based players in the line-up, held
their own and did not resemble a side 41 places lower in the world
rankings. 

Percy Tau, of whom much had been expected in this Cup of Nations,
could have broken the deadlock as half-time approached but a weak shot
was comfortably saved by Loydt Kazapua.  

Deon Hotto came close to putting Namibia ahead midway through the
second half after Keet spilled a cross and the Namibian had his shot
cleared off the line by Buhle Mkhwanazi.

Almost immediately, South Africa forced a corner and Zungu from Ligue
1 outfit Amiens rose unchallenged in the middle of the six-yard box to
nod the former champions into the lead.

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