Additional reporting by AFP.
The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations is whizzing through the first round of group games faster than a Benni McCarthy hat-trick at the tournament. If only Bafana Bafana had his prowess on Monday – perhaps that 1-0 defeat against Ivory Coast wouldn’t have happened.
Jonathan Kodjia struck the only goal as Ivory Coast defeated South Africa 1-0 in the steamy Cairo heat on Monday in a meeting of former Africa Cup of Nations champions.
Ivory Coast won the title for the second time in 2015 but crashed out in the group stage two years ago without a victory and are trying to rebuild a team to match that of its golden generation.
The Elephants set themselves up for a much improved display in Egypt after Kodjia scrambled home the winner on 64 minutes against the 1996 champions.
“It was a difficult match and the important thing for us was not to come a cropper in the opening game,” said Ivory Coast coach Ibrahim Kamara. “We needed to start well in the competition and that’s what we’ve done.”
South Africa boss Stuart Baxter said he had no complaints about the result after his side rarely threatened the Ivorian goal.
“Because of the lack of strikes on goal we can’t complain about losing the game, but I thought the players put in a great performance and it’s a great learning curve for us,” he said.
Elsewhere, Tunisia became the first top seed side not to win, as they drew 1-1 with Angola. Malia, meanwhile, beat newcomers Mauritania 4-1.
Fixtures, teams and results for all groups
- Group A: Teams, fixtures, standings and results
- Group B: Teams, fixtures, standings and results
- Group C: Teams, fixtures, standings and results
- Group D: Teams, fixtures, standings and results
- Group E: Teams, fixtures, standings and results
- Group F: Teams, fixtures, standings and results
Afcon results and highlights on 24 June
Ivory Coast 1-0 South Africa [Highlights]
Tunisia 1-1 Angola [Highlights]
Mali 4-1 Mauritania [Highlights]
Afcon fixtures on 26 June
Times are SAST.
19:00 Cameroon vs Guinea-Bissau
22:00 Ghani vs Benin