South Africa failed to advance to the U23 Africa Cup of Nations final after a 3-0 loss to Egypt, but their hopes of qualifying for the Olympics are not over yet.
South Africa coach David Notoane made two changes to the side that played to a goalless draw against Nigeria in the last group match, as Sipho Mbule and Kobamelo Kodisang replaced Thabiso Monyane and Lyle Foster in the starting line-up.
The game was a tight affair after the half-hour mark with the Egyptians doing the most defending and they were doing well not to expose their goalkeeper Mohamed Daader.
Notoane’s charges were tempted to play long balls to get to the Egypt’s box in the latter phase of the first stanza and that did work out as Luther Singh was easily crowded as a lone-striker but their positive was that shot-stopper Darren Johnson, who was yet to concede since the start of the tournament, was hardly troubled in goal, as the first-half ended score-less.
After the quiet spells, Shawky Gharib’s troops were awarded a penalty on the hour mark, which Ramadan Sobhi converted to gave the hosts a lead. They also became the first side to score against South Africa
Notoane reacted moments later by bringing on striker Lyle Foster to partner Singh upfront, with Kodisang making way for the final 25 minutes.
However, Egypt killed the game with six minutes remaining after Abdel Rahman Magdy got the second goal from Siyabong Ngezana’s failed clearance.
Magdy wrapped up the scoring two minutes before time and got his brace with a long range strike from outside the box to give Egypt a 3-0 win that takes them to the final secured a spot at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, while South Africa will hope to seal their spot in the Olympic Games in the third/fourth play-off match against Ghana on 22 November.