South Africa have successfully booked their place in the 2015 African Cup of Nations following a 2-1 win over Sudan at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday.
AmaZulu’s Bongani Ndulula started the game and will also be in Nigeria for Bafana’s final group game on Wednesday.
Goals from CAF player of the year nominee Thulani Serero and Tokelo Rantie secured Bafana Bafana’s place among the participants in next year’s continental completion which will be hosted by Equatorial Guinea.
Salah Ibrahim scored what proved to be a mere consolation for the visitors.
Shakes Mashaba made three changes to the side that were held to a goalless draw by Congo with Darren Keet filling the sticks in place of the late Senzo Meyiwa while Anele Ngcongca and Oupa Manyisa returned to the starting XI.
Mohamed Abdallah meanwhile made two changes to his starting XI with Kareka and Nazar Hamid recalled to what was an attacking line-up.
Following a slow start to the encounter, both teams started to create chances with South Africa lucky not to be a goal down as Nazar Nassir broke through on goal with 30 minutes on the clock.
The Al Hilal midfielder looked certain to score, but Sibusiso Khumalo caught up with him and produced a superb sliding tackle just as he was about to take a shot at goal.
Bafana Bafana though were finding space down the flanks and exploited the left wing as Serero opened the scoring in the 38th minute.
Andile Jali unleased Rantie who picked out the Ajax Amsterdam midfielder who produced a neat finish to send the home fans into ecstasy, 1-0.
The goal sparked a period of domination for the hosts who went close through Serero and then Rantie after the break, before the Bournemouth man finally found his goal in the 53rd minute.
Serero played the ball to the pacey forward who tore the Sudan defence to pieces before hitting home, 2-0.
South Africa continued to dominate, but the Falcons of Jediane scored next through Salah Ibrahim in the 77th minute.
A free-kick found its way to the El Hilal forward who beat Keet from close range.
Sudan surged forward in the final exchanges, but Bafana Bafana held on to record a hard-fought victory.
The win means South Africa have successfully qualified for their first international tournament by means of a qualifying campaign, since the 2008 African Cup of Nations in Ghana.
South Africa (1) 2 (Serero 38’ Rantie 53’)
Sudan (0) 1 (Salah Ibrahim 77’)
South Africa: Keet; Ngcongca, Mathoho, Coetzee, Khumalo, Furman, Jali, Manyisa, Serero (Letsholonyane 88’), Rantie, Ndulula (Sekola 58’)
Sudan: Mahgoub; Elrayah Ali (Mahmoud 70’), Mamoun, Gafar, Kosti, Babeker, Tahir (Salah Ibrahim 59’), Nassir (Omer 46’), Hassan, Eltaib Ibrahim, SulimanShare