Bafana Bafana's mixed bag on neutral territory: A history of encounters

Posted : 08 January 2024

Bafana Bafana is set to embark on the 34th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations in the Ivory Coast, facing challenges from Mali, Namibia, and Tunisia in the pool stages. This tournament adds to their history of games on neutral territory, offering a mixed bag of results in the past. From a thrashing by Mexico in Los Angeles in 1994 to a triumph over Zaire in Togo in 1997, Bafana Bafana has experienced diverse outcomes in neutral venue encounters over the years.


The year 1998 saw Bafana Bafana's participation in the Confederation Cup in Saudi Arabia, marked by draws and losses, leading to the dismissal of coach Clive Barker. The same year, Iceland aided Bafana Bafana's World Cup preparation with a friendly in Germany. In the 2000 Africa Cup of Nations, despite starting poorly, Bafana Bafana clinched a third-place finish. Additionally, the US Cup in 2000 witnessed defeats against Mexico and Ireland.


The 2002 Africa Cup of Nations saw Bafana Bafana advancing to the quarterfinals in Mali but succumbed to the hosts. Friendlies against Saudi Arabia and Ecuador added to their World Cup preparations. Bafana Bafana's World Cup debut in 2002 included draws against Denmark and Saudi Arabia in Toulouse and Bordeaux. Subsequent tournaments like the Castle Lager Cup and the Cosafa Castle Cup in 2002 and 2004, respectively, provided mixed results for Bafana Bafana.


In 2005, Bafana Bafana participated in the Cosafa Castle Cup in Mauritius and the Concacaf Gold Cup in the US. The year 2006 marked their return to the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, where they failed to score a goal. Bafana Bafana also engaged in the Cosafa Castle Cup in 2006 and 2007, securing victories and finishing third. Notably, 2010 World Cup preparations included friendlies against Portugal and North Korea.


In the years that followed, Bafana Bafana continued their international engagements with fixtures against Portugal, North Korea, and Jamaica. Noteworthy tournaments such as the 2013 Cosafa Cup and the Africa Cup of Nations in 2015 and 2019 added to their neutral venue encounters. Bafana Bafana's journey continues with the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations, playing against Guinea in a friendly in Belgium.


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