Bafana Bafana to open 2019 AFCON account with Ivory Coast clash

Bafana Bafana will open their Total 2019 Africa Cup of Nations account with a clash against former champions Ivory Coast.

The fixture is set for Monday, 24 June 2019 at the Al Salam Stadium in Cairo, Egypt.

Kickoff is at 16h30.

The second match will be against fellow COSAFA member Namibia on Friday, 28 June at the same venue, with a 22h00 kickoff.

For the last Group stages encounter, Bafana Bafana will remain at the Al Salam Stadium where they will face Morocco on Monday, 1 July.

The match starts at 18h00.

The top two teams of each group, along with the best four third-placed teams, advance to the round of 16.

The top two teams from each group, and four best third-placed teams, go into the quarter-finals.

This will be South Africa’s 10thappearance in the tournament since they made their debut in 1996, the same year they won the title.

They missed out in the last edition in 2017 in Gabon.

They return to Egypt where they had a dismal outing in the competition in 2006 under the late Ted Dumitru � they did not score any goal and could not collect any point after losing all three group stage matches.

The 2019 tournament will be the 32ndedition of the Africa Cup of Nations and will be held from 21 June to 19 July, with the final scheduled for the Cairo International Stadium.

The competition will, for the first time ever be played in June/July, and has also been expanded from 16 to 24 nations.

The North African hosts will use six venue across five cities � Cairo International Stadium, Al Salam Stadium and 30 June Stadium in Cairo, Alexandria Stadium in Alexandria, Suez Stadium in Suez and Ismailia Stadium in Ismailia.

It will also be the first time the Video Assistant Referees (VARs) will be used � even though they will only be introduced from the Round of 16.


Egypt to host a record 5thtime � 1959, 1974, 1986, 2006, 2019

The hosts also won it a record seven times, followed by Ghana (4), Nigeria (3), Democratic Republic of Congo (2), Ivory Coast (2)

Madagascar, Burundi and Mauritania making their debut in 2019

12 nations are yet to qualify for the tournament � Lesotho, Eswatini, Central African Republic, Seychelles, South Sudan, Djibouti, Somalia, Eritrea, Sao Tome e Principe, Comoros, Gambia and Chad

Only three countries � Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia � took part in the first tournament in 1957, and there was no qualifying competition

2019 will be first time 24 nations face off

2019 will also be the first time tournament is played in June/July instead of the usual January/February period

Samuel Eto’o of Cameroon is still the leading top goal scorer in the tournament with 18 goals in six editions

Source: South Africa Football Association