South Africa missed out on the last edition of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON)tournament in Cameroon despite the fact that 24 teams qualified for the tournament. The 1996 AFCON winners would be hoping to appease their fans by making it to the next AFCON edition in Ivory Coast billed for next year.
The South Africans were drawn in Group K of the 2023 AFCON tournament alongside World Cup-bound Morocco, Zimbabwe and Liberia. Zimbabwe were suspended from the AFCON 2023 qualifiers after they were hammered with a FIFA ban thus leaving Morocco, Liberia and South Africa as the teams jostling for two spots in Group K.
In the first set of matches in the group under review, Morocco came from behind to beat South Africa 2-1 at home as the North Africans began their qualifying campaign for the tournament in Ivory Coast with a win. South Africa took the lead in the eighth minute through Lyle Foster who spent the latest league season at Westerlo in the Belgian league as a loan player from Portuguese Super League side Vitoria Guimares. Sevilla striker Youssef En-Nesyri scored the equaliser for the Moroccans six minutes into the second half. Hatayspor FC of Turkey winger Ayoub El-Kaabi then scored the winner two minutes from time. The other group game between Liberia and Zimbabwe was cancelled due to the FIFA ban handed on the Zimbabweans.
For the second set of Group K games, the game between Zimbabwe and South Africa was cancelled, while the other group game between hosts Liberia and Morocco ended in a 2-0 win for the North Africans. The Moroccans made it two wins from two games with two goals within a minute in the second half. Sivasspor attacking midfielder Faycal Fajr scored the opener from the penalty spot on 56 minutes before the aforementioned En-Nesyri doubled the lead one minute later.
At the end of the first two matches in Group K, Morocco lead with six points, while South Africa and Liberia are in second spot and third spot respectively. Liberia and South Africa have zero point from their first two Group K games.