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Published: 21 November 2018

MIXED FORTUNES FOR UNITED’S INTERNATIONAL CONTINGENT
 
 
 


Maritzburg United international players Siyanda Xulu, Fortune Makaringe, Justice Figuaredo and Richard Ofori encountered contrasting results in their respective AFCON qualifiers this weekend.

   
 

Xulu and Makaringe were part of the Bafana Bafana squad which did duty in a Group E Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying showdown with group leaders Nigeria at the FNB Stadium on Saturday, although neither player got a taste of any action in the 1-1 draw.


That result leaves South Africa needing to avoid defeat away to Libya in their final match in March next year in order to qualify for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

 

Makaringe, meanwhile, was able to get some game-time for the national team in Durban on Tuesday night when he came on in the second half for the 1-1 draw with Paraguay in the Nelson Mandela Challenge.

 

Figuaredo was included in the Swaziland setup for their home tie with Niger, but did not make the match day squad in what turned out to be a 1-2 defeat against Niger in Group J, a group from which Tunisia and Egypt had already qualified for the 2019 AFCON finals, even before the weekend’s action.

 

It was Ofori and his Ghana side who were the biggest winners on the weekend as the Black Stars fought out a 2-0 win away in Ethiopia. Ofori started in goal and made some important saves for the Black Stars, for whom Andre Ayew was the difference with a brace.

 

Ghana are now one point behind Kenya (Maritzburg defender Brian Onyango’s team), in second position in Group F, with Ethiopia third.
Sierra Leone, in fourth, have been banned by FIFA, and although CAF is yet to rule on how that will affect the standings, there seems a good chance that both Kenya and Ghana will qualify for the AFCON finals (two teams from each group go through).

 

The four players will now return their focus to domestic duties as the Team of Choice look to end 2018 on a positive note, starting with the Absa Premiership clash with Chippa United at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Tuesday 27 November (19H30 kick off).


 

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