IT has been a classic AFCON of shocks and South Africa have become the latest David to floor a Goliath as the Ivorian Nations Cup continues to be a burial ground for the traditional giants.
Bafana Bafana found the character needed to knock out Morocco’s formidable Atlas Lions on Tuesday night by riding on a display pregnant with both passion and fearlessness.
Fourteen months ago, Morocco emerged from the 2022 World Cup as the fourth-best team at the tournament in what was an historic campaign for an African team.
However, their Nations Cup curse, which has seen them win the tournament just once, in 1976, and fail to reach the final in the last 20 years, struck again on Tuesday.
They missed a penalty, at a delicate stage of the game, and then watched as Bafana Bafana secured the insurance goal, through a beauty of a free-kick, as the Atlas Lions lost 0-2.
To beat a team that shocked Belgium and eliminated both Spain and Portugal at the last World Cup, this was huge for Bafana Bafana.
Ironically, the Warriors, who were barred from the qualifiers for a place at this AFCON, would have been in the same group with Morocco and South Africa, had they been allowed to take part.
Liberia, who are regular sparring partners of the Warriors, were the other team in the qualifying group.
So, now, to the big question: Would the Warriors have qualified from a group which featured Morocco and Bafana Bafana?
After all, just a few months ago, the same Warriors picked a point from Rwanda just days before the East Africans beat Bafana Bafana 2-0 in a World Cup qualifier.
The same Warriors held the Super Eagles to a 1-1 draw and now the Nigerians, just like the South Africans, find themselves in the quarter-finals of this Nations Cup.
The Warriors qualified for their last three AFCON finals in 2017, 2019 and 2021.
Bafana Bafana failed to qualify for the 2017 and 2021 Nations Cup finals while Chipolopolo did not make it to the 2017, 2019 and 2021 AFCON finals.
Of course, football, just like boxing, isn’t mathematics.
It doesn’t mean that is the Warriors beat Bafana and Bafana beat Morocco it means the Warriors will beat Morocco.
But, the game’s unpredictability is what always gives the teams like the Warriors a window of hope. And, in an AFCON full of giant-killing acts, no one can claim our men would not have had a chance to make an impression in Cote d’Ivoire.