In two previous clashes at the biennial continental showpiece, it was the north Africans who reigned supreme.
But then again – as South Africa’s group defeats by Ivory Coast and Morocco showed – past results mean nothing if a team is determined enough to win.
Here’s a look back at the two matches between Bafana and the Pharaohs.
January 24, 1996
FNB Stadium, Johannesburg
Egypt 1 (El-Kaas 7th min), South Africa 0
Having beaten Cameroon and Angola, Clive Barker’s team went into this final group match with their spot in the next round already guaranteed.
But The Dog kept the bulk of his core team as he looked for a perfect record.
The Pharaohs had other ideas though and Ahmed El-Kaas scored very early on and the north Africans typically closed shop and not even the partisan home crowd could help Bafana back into the game.
The defeat, however, had no negative impact as Bafana still topped the group and went on to be crowned champions.
February 28, 1998
Stade du 4 Aout, Ouagadougou
Egypt 2 (A Hassan 5’ Mostafa 13’), South Africa 0
Under the guidance of Jomo Sono and with a young Benni McCarthy in prolific form, South Africa were looking good for a second straight continental title win.
But they met with an Egyptian outfit that meant business.
The Pharaohs hardly allowed the holders to settle in and with some in the crowd still finding their way to the seats, Egypt were already in the lead courtesy of an Ahmad Hassan strike.
Bafana were yet to understand what was going on when Mostafa added a second eight minutes later.
And just like they did two years earlier, Egypt closed shop and took their fourth continental title.@Tshiliboy