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South Africa at the CAF Africa Cup of Nations 2024: what can we really expect from Bafana Bafana?

by Devesh Jaganath | by Yunchu Li

image South Africa at the CAF Africa Cup of Nations 2024: what can we really expect from Bafana Bafana?
From the bustling townships to the urban metropolises, optimism resonates in South Africa as Bafana Bafana begin their journey to recapture the title as champions of the African Cup of Nations in 2024.

Bafana Bafana to Unleash Kasi Flavour on AFCON Rivals


South Africa's football journey has been marked by major highs and lows on the continental stage. The pinnacle of their success was reached back in 1996 when they hosted and won the AFCON, etching their name in history alongside African powerhouses like Egypt, Senegal, and Nigeria. Since then, continental greatness on the soccer field has eluded Bafana Bafana, but AFCON 2024 represents an opportunity to rekindle the flames of past glory and carve a new chapter in their footballing story.

With a rich history punctuated by moments of triumph and an unmistakable style of play known as "Kasi Flavour," Bafana Bafana enters the tournament as a serious contender to go deep into the competition. 

The South African national team have also won silver and bronze medals in this competition, but they have not got to the final four since 2002. After failing to qualify for the previous installment of the AFCON in 2021, Bafana Bafana will be looking to set out an early marker in the group stages, and you can check out our expert tips regarding their chances in the competition by heading over to SportyTraders dedicated 2024 AFCON betting tips page. 

Check out the latest odds

Can South Africa Rise to the Occasion? 


South Africa burst onto the AFCON scene in 1996 as the host nation and, against all odds, clinched the title in a momentous victory. The tournament will forever be remembered for the iconic images of unity as Captain Neil Tovey lifted the trophy alongside Nelson Mandela, marking the nation's first taste of continental glory.

In more recent times, the AFCON 2019 campaign hosted by Egypt, saw South Africa stage a remarkable comeback in the knockout stages, eliminating the tournament hosts in the Round of 16. Yet, their journey ended in the quarterfinals, falling to Nigeria in a closely contested match. 

This time around, Bafana Bafana have arguably put together one of the best teams they have managed to field in many years, spearheaded by Al Ahly’s Percy Tau. However, the side will be without the services of Burnley striker Lyle Foster, who was the top scorer during qualifying. 

Owing to Zimbabwe being disqualified from the competition, Bafana Bafana were part of a three-team group in qualifying along with Morocco and Liberia. South Africa finished second in the group with seven points in their four matches, losing only once against Morocco on the road, though they did beat The Atlas Lions in the return match at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg. 

Since then, South Africa clinched third place in the COSAFA Cup and have only been beaten once in their last six matches while drawing three and winning two of the remaining five. They are also in second place in their CAF World Cup qualifying group, just one point behind Rwanda after the first two matches. 

Bet on South Africa at AFCON 2024

AFCON 2024 - South Africa’s Fixture List

South Africa have been drawn into what many consider to be a favourable group in the competition. Group E includes Mali, Namibia and Tunisia, and the teams that finish in first and second place will earn an automatic qualification spot in the knockout stages of the competition. In addition, four of the six sides that finish third in their group will also be eligible to qualify for the next round based on their performance. 

Let’s take a quick look at Bafana Bafana’s fixtures in the group stage: 

  • Tuesday, January 16 - Mali vs South Africa - Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium
  • Sunday, January 21 - South Africa vs Namibia - Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium
  • Wednesday, January 24 - South Africa vs Tunisia - Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium

You can keep up to date with all the latest odds and relevant news at AFCON live scores

Read our expert tips

What Bets to Make on South Africa in the 2024 AFCON?


South Africa will enter AFCON 2024, ranked 66th in the world according to the latest FIFA World Rankings. While this may not sound too impressive at first, it is worth considering that Bafana Bafana are ranked 12th among 53 African footballing nations 

As far as betting odds go, South Africa are the 13th favourite to win the competition, with most bookmakers tipping Senegal and Morocco to be the front runners. You can currently lock in odds of around 40.0 with Bet365 for Bafana Bafana to win the competition, while Group E favourites Tunisia can be backed at 12.0 with Betway

Bafana Bafana’s first match of the group could be their most important. Mali, who are ranked two places above South Africa in the continental rankings, are expected to pose the biggest threat to South Africa for second place in the group, with Tunisia expected to take the top spot. South Africa are the underdogs in this match but with their resilient form in recent times, they will feel that this is a match that they can definitely win. Odds of 3.0 are available from William Hill for Bafana Bafana to win the opening match and could set you up perfectly for the rest of the competition if it lands. 

South Africa’s second match is against their neighbours and the group’s outsiders, Namibia. The Brave Warriors are ranked 115th in the world and will be the underdogs in this contest, while Bafana Bafana will see this as a must-win before their final group-stage match. The final match of the group could be a titanic battle as the result of this one will likely have a major impact on who will finish in the top two qualification places. Tunisia are ranked number three among all African sides and are not just the favourites to win this match but are also heavily fancied to challenge for the title on February 11 at the Olympic Stadium of Ebimpe. 

To see the latest odds for all the teams, check out AFCON odds comparator to help with your betting plans. 

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