- South Africa qualify for Tokyo 2020 by beating Ghana on penalties
- Shootout required after a thrilling 2-2 draw in third-place play-off
- Egypt and Côte d’Ivoire already qualified and face off in tonight’s final
South Africa have seized Africa’s third and final ticket to next year’s Men’s Olympic Football Tournament in Tokyo. Bafana Bafana claimed the spot thanks to a thrilling penalty shootout victory over Ghana following a 2-2 draw in the third-place play-off of the CAF U-23 Africa Cup of Nations.
This was the last chance for these sides to qualify for the Olympics following semi-final defeats on Tuesday to Côte d’Ivoire and Egypt. The Ivorian Elephants and Egyptian Pharaohs will now do battle for the African title later this evening.
South Africa, who have now qualified for the Olympics for the second successive edition, came out on top after a dramatic encounter in which they were twice pegged back by the dogged Black Meteors.
Bafana Bafana edged the match in terms of efforts on goal and ball possession and took the lead after just 15 minutes when Ghana’s Mohammed Habib put through his own goal.
Evans Mensah restored parity just four minutes into the second half though, and while Kamohelo Abel Mahlatsi reclaimed the advantage for South Africa on 62 minutes, Ghana struck back through Samuel Obeng to set up the shootout.
Even that decisive stage of the game proved to something of an epic, with 16 penalties in total taken – 11 of which were scored. The decisive kick belonged to Lyle Foster, who kept his cool to end Ghana’s brave resistance and spark wild celebrations among the jubilant South African players.