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International round-up

Posted on 5 September 2011  - 12:00

Steven Pienaar and Bongani Khumalo's hopes of competing in next year's Africa Cup of Nations with South Africa were dealt a huge blow at the weekend.

Steven Pienaar and Bongani Khumalo's hopes of competing in next year's Africa Cup of Nations with South Africa were dealt a huge blow at the weekend.

South Africa lost 2-1 against Niger at the General Seyni Koutche Stadium in Niamey on Sunday.

Bongani, currently on loan at Reading, came on as a second half substitute while Steven, the Bafana Bafana captain, missed out through injury.

It means South Africa have to beat Sierra Leone in their final Group G qualifying match in October and hope leaders Niger slip-up against faltering Egypt, who are bottom of the group.

Only the group winners from groups A-J are guaranteed a spot in the finals. The top two from Group K, which has five teams, also go through. The two best runners-up from A-J also join co-hosts Gabon and Equatorial Guinea in the finals.

South Africa are now on eight points and struggling to take a best runners-up slot with Ghana or Sudan likely to take one as they battle it out in Group I and currently both stand on 13 points. Elsewhere, Libya are on 11 points and Nigeria on 10.

Cameroon's hopes are also on a knife-edge as they also stand on eight points after hammering Mauritius 5-0 on Friday. Sebastian Bassong was an unused substitute. Cameroon face DR Congo away in their final group match and need to win to get onto 11 points.

Meanwhile, Emmanuel Adebayor's Togo side beat Botswana but they cannot qualify from Group K.

In friendly action, Giovani had a couple of decent efforts at goal in an 85-minute stint as Mexico beat Chile 1-0 in Barcelona on Sunday. He's pictured in action above.

That was the second match of a European-based double-header of friendlies for Mexico and Gio came on in the 64th minute of a 1-1 draw against Poland in Warsaw on Friday.