South Africa produced a major upset at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations by defeating Morocco 2-0 in the Round of 16 at the Stade Laurent Pokou, securing a spot in the quarterfinals.
Despite Morocco's status as heavy favorites, South Africa, who had struggled in the group stage, secured the victory with second-half goals from Evidence Makgopa and Teboho Mokoena.
Morocco faced further misfortune as Achraf Hakimi missed a penalty in the 84th minute, and Sofyan Amrabat received a red card just before South Africa's second goal.
Following Morocco's elimination, Nigeria emerged as the highest-ranked team in the AFCON. At the competition's outset, Nigeria was ranked sixth, with Morocco, Senegal, Tunisia, Algeria, and Egypt ahead.
However, Senegal and Egypt were eliminated in the Round of 16, with Tunisia and Algeria not advancing past the group stage.
Among the remaining eight teams, Nigeria now holds the top position in the FIFA rankings, followed by Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, South Africa, Congo DR, Cape Verde, Guinea, and Angola.
In the quarterfinals, Nigeria is set to face Angola, Congo DR will compete against Guinea, Mali will clash with Cote d’Ivoire, and South Africa will meet Cape Verde. The stage is set for an exciting continuation of the tournament.