It was an interesting set-up at Bafana Bafana’s Novotel Hotel just next to the Cairo International Airport in Egypt on Tuesday night.

The whole team converged by the swimming pool and the hotel staff put up a big screen that enabled Stuart Baxter and his team to watch the game between Mali and Angola.

To proceed to the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) last 16, Bafana needed the West Africans to win this game and the 1-0 victory for Group E winners did the trick.

Bafana will now face the hosts Egypt in the last 16 at the Cairo International stadium on Saturday evening (21:00). Bafana left-back Sifiso Hlanti reacts to qualifying as one of the four third best placed teams.

On social media during the games yesterday, there were moments that the the public were tearing into Bafana, demanding that they return home irrespective of the other results.

During Tuesday’s games, were the moments that Hlanti thought about what could’ve been during the group stages.

Hlanti has been heavily criticised during this tournament especially with his crosses, defending and overall play.

The Bidvest Wits left-back also tried to defend his team’s uninspiring display so far in the tournament where they’ve scored only one goal, lost two matches, won one and scored only once.

On Saturday, Bafana face close to 70 000 Egyptians at the Cairo International stadium, a venue where The Pharaohs have maintained a 100% winning record so far in the competition.

They won all their group stages matches, scoring five goals in the process with star player Mo Salah warming up with two goals from the past two games.

But Hlanti says they’ve got nothing to fear.

The criticism of the team sometimes has been overboard especially to the players as they are playing under instructions and not necessarily applying what they want and the football that the people expect to watch. Hlanti tackles it.

Report by Velile Mnyandu