Bafana Bafana threw Group C of the Africa FIFA 2026 World Cup qualifiers open following the two draws by group favourites Nigeria.
The South African side had won their opening game of the group with a 2-1 win over the Squirrels of Benin to jump to the top of the group after the Super Eagles could only manage a draw against Lesotho.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria also drew their second game away to Zimbabwe, leaving a leeway for Bafana Bafana to put daylight between them and their rivals Nigeria, but the South African side lost 2-0 away to Rwanda on Tuesday.
South Africa struggled in the first half, leaving Hugo Broos with plenty of unanswered questions.
— Bafana Bafana (@BafanaBafana) November 21, 2023
Rwanda with a two-goal lead over Bafana Bafana in the first half
Bafana Bafana might have been the favourites but received no respect in the FIFA 2026 qualifiers’ second group game.
The South African side had come into the game hoping to consolidate on their opening-day win but met a different proposition.
The Rwandan side took the game to their more illustrious opponents and got the lead in the 12th minute through Innocent Nshuti.
Bafana Bafana struggled to impose their rhythm on the game as their hosts were more physical and determined.
It wasn’t long before the home side struck again. Rwanda got their second goal in the 28th minute through Gilbert Mugisha to make the work doubly difficult for Bafana Bafana.
Rwanda finished the first half 2-0 ahead, with South Africa left with all to play for.
Let me hear you repeating #Amavubiiiiiiiii
— Rwanda FA (@FERWAFA) November 21, 2023
Bafana Bafana fail in comeback bid
The second half started with Bafana Bafana looking to get a foothold in the game, but the playing conditions were not helping matters.
On a waterlogged pitch, South Africa struggled to impose their game, but the Amavubi were comfortable with proceedings after stinging the players from South Africa twice.
The two-goal lead played into their game plan, and they played to restrict South Africa from causing any damage.
It took Broos 52 minutes to realise he needed changes, and he brought on Zakhele Lepasa to replace Bongokhule Hlongwane.
A second substitution in the 75th minute did little to stem the tide for Broos. The Bafana Bafana coach brought on Oswin Appollis for Sphephelo Sithole.
The Amavubi continued with their doggedness in repelling any attack South Africa had.
With the victory, Rwanda top Group C with four points, Bafana Bafana are second with three, while Nigeria are third with two points.
Rwanda vs Bafana Bafana Lineups
Fiacre Ntawari, Djihad Bizimana, League Byiringiro, Thierry Manzi, Emmanuel Imanishimwe, Gilbert Mugisha, Kelvin Muhire, Ange Mutsingi, Olivier Niyonzima, Innocent Mshuti, Fitima Omborenga
Hakim Sahabo, Maxime Wenssens, Bienvenu Mugenzi, Patrick Sibomana, Jean Bosco Ruboneka, Gad Muhawanayo, Bonheur Mugisha, Isaac Mitima, Abdul Rwatubyaye, Ally Serumogo, Claude Niyomugabo, Arthur Gitego
Ronwen Williams, Bongokuhle Hlongwane, Khuliso Johnson Mudau, Mihlali Mayambela, Percy Tau, Themba Zwane, Nkosinathi Sibisi, Aubrey Modiba, Sphephelo Sithole, Teboho Mokoena, Siyanda Xulu
Jayden Adams, Bradley Cross, Evidence Makgopa, Ricardo Goss, Veli Mothwa, Oswin Appollis, Elias Mokwana, Sibongiseni Mthethwa, Nyiko Mobbie, Tapelo Nyongo, Zakhele Lepasa
This article was most recently revised and updated 2 mins ago