Bafana hold Cameroon

JOHANNESBURG. — South African Hlompho Kekana struck a wonder goal and French coach Herve Renard made an instant impact with Morocco in African Cup of Nations soccer qualifiers on Saturday. Kekana scored from inside his own half five minutes after half-time as South Africa drew 2-2 with Cameroon in Atlantic town Limbe after leading twice. Spotting Cameroonian goalkeeper Guy Roland Ndy Assembe off his line, the recalled South African midfielder thumped the ball from close to the touchline.

And to the horror of the capacity 20 000 predominantly Cameroon-supporting crowd, the ball sailed over the goalkeeper and dropped into the middle of the net. Kekana has scored spectacular long-range goals for leading South African club Mamelodi Sundowns, but none to match the one that gave Bafana Bafana a 2-1 lead. Cameroon recovered to equalise for a second time midway through the second half when defender Nicolas Nkoulou nodded a free-kick past hesitant goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune.

Striker Tokelo Rantie shrugged off rustiness after injuries and a lack of game time with English Premier League club Bournemouth to put South Africa ahead on 17 minutes.

Midfielder Sebastien Siani levelled in the final minute of the first half with a shot that flew into the corner.

A draw lifted South Africa off the bottom of the Group M standings, but they trail Cameroon by five points with three rounds left. The 13 group winners and best two runners-up qualify for the 2017 Cup of Nations in Gabon.

Spain-based striker Youssef El Arabi converted a first-half penalty to give Morocco a 1-0 away win over top-ranked African team Cape Verde in their first match under Renard. — AFP.

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