Beach Bafana bow out


South Africa take on Egypt in their final match on Thursday knowing that they have no hope of progressing any further in the tournament, while Egypt know that they are through to the next round regardless of the outcome of either Pool A match. Mozambique’s win, combined with Egypt’s shock 5-4 extra-time defeat of Senegal, means the winner of the Senegal v Mozambique fixture will go into the semi-finals.

In Pool B, Cameroon are in pole position with two wins and only a loss to Nigeria (in what is surely going to be the match of the day) combined with a massive win by Ivory Coast over Cape Verde will keep them from the semi finals.

Nigeria know that a loss to Cameroon means Ivory Coast will probably go through at their expense, unless Cape Verde can produce a stunning upset.

On Wednesday, Cameroon were in a fighting mood as they outmuscled a gallant Ivory Coast 8-7.

Cameroon were never behind, but only made sure of the victory with their final goal 10 seconds from full time after Ivory Coast’s never-say-die attitude brought them to within a goal of drawing level in the dying seconds of the fascinating clash.

Cameroon were more prepared to throw players forward and their decision to employ two front runners for most of the match paid dividends with Batoum making the most of his opportunities by netting four times as he tormented the Ivory Coast defenders.

In the final game of the day, Nduduzo Phakathi and Bandile Lekena each missed a penalty as South Africa were beaten 3-2 in a tense, low-scoring match.

Two goals in the first period and one in the final stanza were enough to give Mozambique the three points on offer, despite being outplayed by the host side for most of the match.

South Africa, who scored once in each of the first and third periods via Phakathi and Philani Gumede, did themselves no good by consistently missing the target.

Included in their long list of missed attempts were the two penalties - one way over the top and another far to the right of goal - and had their shooting been more accurate they probably would have won the match at a canter with probably twice as many shots at goal as their north-western neighbours.

But it would be unfair to lay the blame at the inaccurate feet of the front runners, while the defenders were giving the men they were meant to be marking far too much time to line up shots at goal.

The most exciting game of the day was undoubtedly Egypt’s 5-4 extra-time victory over Senegal in a clash of styles.

Although they had to play an extra three minutes to claim victory, Egypt were never behind and looked like a team which wanted to win more. They were full of pace and aggression, but used their superior skill to keep the sluggish Senegalese on the back foot throughout the tense contest.