It was deaf silent when Thembinkosi scored five minutes from time what proved to be the game’s winner as South Africa shocked hosts Egypt.
Bafana Bafana ousted the home side to set the date with Nigeria in the quarter final, and more than 75000 supporters were forced to leave the stadium in a status of disbelief. They had spent hours and hours chanting and cheering for their national team, but the moment they waited never came.
From the opening day, the Egyptian supporters had created an amazing atmosphere, especially when their team played. They poured in numbers to fill the Cairo International Stadium stands and had their voice heard.
Despite being sad and shocked, they painted a great picture when they applauded South Africa players on their way out. It was another clue for their hospitality and warm welcome to all the AFCON guests.
In four previous times Egypt hosted the Africa Cup of Nations, the Pharaohs emerged victorious in three of them (1959, 1986 and 2006). The only exception was when they lost to Zaire (now DR Congo) in the 1974 semifinal. And unfortunately 2019 came to be the second time for Mohamed Salah teammates.
As an immediate response, Coach Javier Aguirre was sacked minutes after the final whistle.
The 60 years old Mexican with less than a year in his job had no words after the match and just admitted holding full responsibility for this heartbreak. Aguirre succeeded Argentine Hector Cuper who led Egypt in last summer’s FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia. He led The Pharaohs in 12 international games, winning 9, drawing one and losing two, but the last of which proving to be his final game with the team.