Bafana Bafana’s 10 worst performances ever


Bafana Bafana have had their highs, but also some embarrassing lows over the past 28 years since the country’s re-admission to international football.

FARPost Editor Tiyani wa ka Mabasa looks back on some matches that left the team hanging their heads in shame.

Zimbabwe 4-1 SA (16 August 1992)

Do you recall the time when Bafana were called 4×4? It started with this hammering by Zimbabwe in Harare. It was Bafana’s fourth outing since re-admission and this was an Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier. Peter Ndlovu had a field day, scoring a brace. A match to forget, no doubt.


Peter Ndlovu is now the Team Manager at Mamelodi Sundowns.

Nigeria 4-0 SA (10 October 1992)

A few months later Bafana – then coached by Screamer Tshabalala – travelled to Lagos to face the ‘Super Eagles’ in a World Cup qualifier. SA had no answers for the likes of Stephen Keshi, Rashidi Yekini, Samson Siasia and Victor Ikpeba.


This was Bafana Bafana’s starting XI against Nigeria in that match; Mark Anderson, Sizwe Motaung, Sam Kambule, Roger Links, Steve Komphela, Lucas Radebe (Peter Gordon 75′), Neil Tovey capt., Mike Rowbotham (Donald Khuse 53′), Augustine Makalakalane, Bennett Masinga, Phil Masinga.

Mexico 4-0 SA (6 October 1993)

In this friendly international played in Los Angeles, USA, Bafana already had a new coach (Augusto Palacios) and although results had improved before this trip including a 1-0 away win against Congo, the wheels came off this time with the Mexicans having a walk in the park in front of just over 12 000 spectators.

Georgia 4-1 SA (27 March 2002)

This was ahead of the World Cup in South Korea/Japan with Bafana being coached by Jomo Sono. The two countries met in Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital and the home side put Bafana to the sword. Delron Buckley scored the consolation goal for Bafana.


The late striker Lesley Manyathela and defender Thabang Molefe were sent off in this match in the 22nd and 58th minute respectively.

Nigeria 4-0 SA (31 January 2004)

For the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations, Bafana were pitted against nemesis Nigeria and once again, got a beating. Peter Odemwingie helped himself to a brace, to add to Joseph Yobo and Jay Jay Okocha’s goals. The late Styles Phumo was Bafana’s coach.


South Africa and Nigeria have met 14 times since 1992. Nigeria have won 7. SA have won 2. There have been 5 draws.

Iceland 4-1 SA (17 August 2005)

This time Bafana were coached by Stuart Baxter (yep, he’s had two stints) and the two countries met at Laugardalsvollur Stadium in Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital, where the home side ran riot against a beleaguered Bafana side.

SA 0-3 Uruguay (16 June 2010) 

It was on my birthday and I went to Loftus Stadium in Pretoria confident that Bafana would do the job especially after drawing 1-1 against Mexico in the opening match of the World Cup, which was played at FNB Stadium. On a very, very cold night in the capital, Diego Forlan and company were too good for Bafana. Disappointing to watch and the result led to Bafana being knocked out in the first round of the tournament.

SA 0-5 Brazil (5 March 2014)

If you ask Ronwen Williams about this match, he won’t be too happy with you. The SuperSport United goalkeeper had a nightmare in goals as the likes of Neymar had it easy at FNB Stadium.

SA 1-2 Cape Verde (5 September 2017)

A week earlier, SA had lost 2-1 to Cape Verde away, but were expected to redeem themselves at home in a World Cup qualifier. The two sides met at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium, with Cape Verde winning again. It brought an end to a very embarrassing week for the national team.

Mauritania 3-1 SA (5 September 2015)

Bafana were expected to win, even away, but it wasn’t to be as the minnows caused an upset at the 10 000-seater capacity Stade Olympique de Nouakchott. Bafana were under Shakes Mashaba for this clash, with Thamsanqa Gabuza scoring Bafana’s only goal.


Mabasa has been a Football Journalist since 2005, starting out at Soccer Laduma, before joining Kick Off magazine in 2009 as Chief Reporter. Six years later, he moved to Sowetan as Senior Football Writer, before joining FARPost as Editor from October 2019. He’s had the privilege to watch and cover Bafana matches over the years.

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