Bafana Bafana in African Nations Cup Competitions

Bafana Bafana (The Boys) is the South African men’s national team.

The team played its last match in 1924, and its next in 1992. This is because of a 16 year FIFA ban and suspension for 40 years due to the apartheid system. Below is Bafana Bafana’s history in the African Nations Cup competitions.


Bafana played in Durban against Cameroon, and it proved to be a strong side against one of Africa’s leading teams. Unfortunately, The Boys failed to qualify for the 1994 African Nations Cup due to the four defeats in succession by Cameroon, Nigeria, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

1996, African Nations Cup

In 1996, South Africa hosted the tournament, and under coach Clive Barker rose to the occasion beating Algeria 2-1 in the quarterfinals. They played against Ghana in the semi-finals and won 3-0 at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg. Bafana faced Tunisia in the finals, and they beat them 2-0. Winning the 1996 African Nations Cup at home was the greatest achievement of this team.

African Nations Cup 1998

Bafana defended their title in the 1998 African Nations Cup in Burkina Faso. In the quarterfinals, Bafana won 2-1 against Morocco, placing them in the semi-finals against the Democratic Republic of Congo and won 2-1. Bafana proceeded to the finals against Egypt but lost 2-0.

African Nations Cup Slide

In 2002, Bafana Bafana was on top of their group and made it up to the quarterfinals. They met Mali, the hosts, and were defeated 2-0. In the 2004 African Nations Cup in Tunisia, Bafana Bafana did not progress beyond the group stages after they were beaten 4-0 by Nigeria and drew 1-1 with Morocco. Bafana Bafana participated in the 2019 African Nations Cup up to the semi-final stage.

Although Bafana Bafana has never won the African Nations Cup since 1996, it has performed well over the years in this competition.