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Football: South Africa to host Brazil in friendly

South Africa and Brazil will play a friendly match on March 5 in Johannesburg, according to the FIFA international calendar. There has also been confirmation of the fixture from Brazilian officials, but not from the South African Football Association. It will be the fifth game between the countries since 1996 with Brazil winning 3-2 in Soweto, 2-1 and 1-0 in Johannesburg, and 1-0 in Sao Paulo last September. The match in Brazil marked the debut of Bafana Bafana (The Boys) coach Gordon Igesund and was won by a late goal from substitute Hulk.

Football: Ethiopia, Nigeria, B.Faso advance, S.Africa out

Minnows Ethiopia eliminated South Africa from the World Cup Africa zone qualifying competition Saturday by fighting back to defeat Central African Republic 2-1 in Congo. The 'Walias Antelopes' topped Group A with 13 points, two more than 2010 World Cup hosts South Africa, whose 4-1 home win over Botswana in Durban proved futile. Ethiopia, bottom seeds in a mini-league expected to be dominated by South Africa, join Algeria, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria in two-leg play-offs.

Football: Bafana battle before conquering Burkina 'C'

South Africa made heavy weather of a 2-0 World Cup warm-up win over Burkina Faso Saturday during the Nelson Mandela Sport Day at Soccer City stadium in Soweto. Although fielding a number of first choices, three-time World Cup qualifiers Bafana Bafana (The Boys) only sealed victory over a Stallions 'C' team with a stoppage-time goal. The friendly football international did not fall during the FIFA calendar so Burkina Faso were unable to call up any overseas-based stars like Jonathan Pitroipa from French club Rennes.

Football: Lifeline for S.Africa as Ethiopia lose points

South Africa returned Monday to the race for places at the 2014 World Cup after Ethiopia forfeited three points for fielding an ineligible player. A FIFA statement said Botswana, who lost at home to Ethiopia during June, had been awarded a 3-0 win because their opponents fielded suspended midfielder Minyahile Beyene. The Ethiopian had been yellow carded in two other qualifiers, earning an automatic one-match suspension, and officials of the Walyas Antelopes admitted they blundered.

Football: Egypt, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast reach play-offs

Egypt, Ethiopia and Ivory Coast Sunday became the first countries to reach the play-offs in the Africa zone of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers. A spectacular own goal by Bernard Parker gifted lowest Group A seeds Ethiopia a 2-1 triumph over 2010 World Cup hosts South Africa in Addis Ababa and an unassailable five-point lead with one round left. Mohamed Salah followed up a hat-trick against Zimbabwe last weekend by scoring the goal that earned Egypt a 1-0 win over Mozambique in Maputo and created an eight-point Group G gap over Guinea.

Football: Our best was not good enough, admits Tshabalala

Midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala said Sunday that hosts South Africa did their best but it was not good enough to overcome Mali in an Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final thriller. Mali won 3-1 on penalties after a 1-1 stalemate late Saturday to reach the semi-finals and confirm a reputation for being party poopers having ousted co-hosts Gabon on penalties in the 2012 tournament.

Football: Party-poopers Mali plan to upset South Africa

Mali plan to play party-poopers in the quarter-finals for the second consecutive Africa Cup of Nations when they confront hosts South Africa Saturday before a sell-out 60,000 Durban crowd. A year ago almost to the day, giant striker Cheick Tidiane Diabate levelled with six minutes left to force co-hosts Gabon into extra time and a penalty shootout, won by the Malian Eagles. South Africa, like Gabon, are favourites, despite the best efforts of coach Gordon Igesund to convince the media otherwise ahead of the only last-eight fixture that is not an all-west Africa affair.

Soccer-South African morale dented by loss ahead of Nations Cup

By Mark Gleeson CAPE TOWN, Jan 8 (Reuters) - African Nations Cup hosts South Africa suffered a morale-deflating 1-0 defeat at home to a young Norway side on Tuesday in their penultimate warm-up international. Norway, with a team of inexperienced home-based players, scored the only goal from captain Tarik Elyounoussi four minutes before half-time.
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