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Page last updated at 16:36 GMT, Saturday, 21 June 2008 17:36 UK

SA coach defiant after draw

Joel Santana
Santana says Bafana Bafana can still qualify for the Nations Cup

South Africa coach Joel Santana says his side can reach the 2010 African Cup of Nations despite being held 0-0 by Sierra Leone on Saturday.

The result of the Group Four game in Pretoria left 2010 World Cup hosts facing the embarrassing prospect of missing out of the tournament to be played Angola.

Despite the setback, the Brazilian coach says Bafana Bafana can recover to qualify for the Nations Cup, just six months before the World Cup finals.

"We can qualify by winning our remaining fixtures against Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea," the recently appointed Brazilian insisted.

"Sierra Leone did not want to play and they kept pretending to be injured.

"The best team does not always win, but our chances are not over," Santana added.

The World Cup qualifiers are also being used to determine the Nations Cup finals field, which is the reason 2010 hosts South Africa are participating.

But they now need to win both their remaining group matches at home to Nigeria in September and Equatorial Guinea away in October to stand any chance of progress.

The eight best placed runners-up also go through to the second phase.

Santana took charge of Bafana Bafana after 1994 World Cup-winning compatriot Carlos Alberto Parreira quit to be with his ill wife in Rio de Janeiro.

Officials, players and supporters of leading Brazilian club Flamengo pleaded with father-figure Santana not to leave, and after the latest woeful display by South Africa he must be wondering if he made the right decision.

see also
Super Eagles advance, SA held
21 Jun 08 |  African
2010 World Cup Qualifiers
21 Jun 08 |  African

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