Preview: South Africa-Ghana

Even if Ephraim Mashaba’s men pick up all three points, they require Senegal to beat Algeria in Group C’s other encounter to ensure they progress

Ephraim Mashaba is holding on to the hope that South Africa can qualify for the knockout stages of the Africa Cup of Nations when they take on Ghana on Tuesday.

Defeat to Algeria and a draw with Senegal means the 1996 champions must overcome Avram Grant’s men to have any chance of staying in the competition. However, even then they require a favour from Senegal, who would need to beat Algeria in the other Group C match to ensure South Africa’s progression.

“We are still in with a chance,” Bafana Bafana coach Mashaba said after his side’s 1-1 draw with Senegal.

“It was a good outing for us, we still have another game to play, don’t rule us out, anything can happen. Football has its own miracles and I think our boys did very well in this tournament. With one game to go, we are still going to surprise a lot of people.”

Captain Dean Furman was also keen to rally the troops ahead of South Africa’s final group match.

“We take a lot of confidence from the way we have played in these two matches, even if we have not got the results we hoped for,” the midfielder said.

“We just have to hope that a win in our last game will be enough for us to go through.”

Ghana have specialised in late drama in their first two games, though in the opening fixture against Senegal it was a script with an unhappy ending.

The Black Stars went ahead through Andre Ayew’s early penalty, but Senegal fought back and took the three points thanks to Moussa Sow’s last-minute strike which followed Mame Biram Diouf’s leveller.

Ghana, who have reached at least the semi-finals of the last four Acon tournaments, delivered a late twist of their own last time out, as Asamoah Gyan scored a stoppage-time winner against Algeria.

Speaking after that triumph, a relieved Grant warned his side that there was still work to be done.

The former Chelsea boss said: “Nothing has been decided yet in this group.

“Yes, we may have beaten the number one team in Africa, but we now face South Africa, who qualified for this tournament ahead of a big team like Nigeria.

“They played very well in their first game even though they eventually lost to Algeria. They are a fantastic team.

“We are a young team who have shown we do not give up and so we will come into any game to win it.”