PRETORIA, June 21 (Reuters) - World Cup hosts South Africa
face the embarrassing prospect of missing out playing in the
next African Nations Cup finals after they were held to a 0-0
draw by Sierra Leone on Saturday.
South Africa were left with just one win from four matches
at the start of the qualifying process after failing to break
down a stout defence
Sierra Leone goalkeeper Christian Caulker proved the hero
with a series of saves but South Africa's strikers also
squandered a host of chances with wayward shooting.
The result leaves Nigeria needing just a draw when they host
Equatorial Guinea in Abuja later on Saturday to make sure they
win the African qualifying zone Group Four and advance to the
final phase of the preliminaries.
The World Cup qualifiers are also being used to determine
the Nations Cup finals field, which is the reason 2010 hosts
South Africa are participating.
But they now need to win both their remaining group matches
at home to Nigeria in September and Equatorial Guinea away in
October to stand any chance of progress. The eight best placed
runners-up also go through to the second phase.
The Nations Cup comes six months before the World Cup finals
and provides African sides with an useful opportunity for