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Four years after their
readmission to the international stage after many years of exile, a Nelson
Mandela-inspired South Africa marked their return to the football world with a
bang, winning the 1996 African Cup of Nations at home, beating Tunisia 2-0 in
the final in Johannesburg, thanks to two goals from Mark Williams. However,
unfortunately for the country, (who in 1996 were ranked 16th in the world),
its been a steady decline ever since.
Following the 1996
continental success, South African finished second in 1998, third in 2000,
reached the last eight in 2002, but were then knocked out at the first round
stage of the next three tournaments. As hosts in 2013, Bafana reached the
quarterfinals before being ousted on penalties by Mali, but in truth they never
looked like contenders.
The national team have
thrice participated in the World Cup finals in 1998, 2002 and 2010 as hosts.
On all three occasions South Africa exited after the first round, with
victories over Slovenia in 2002 and France in 2010 their only wins in the
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