South Africa prematurely celebrated a 0-0 draw against Sierra Leone on Saturday thinking it had qualified for next year's African Cup of Nations only to be disappointed when Group G rival Niger progressed instead.

South African players danced for fans at the Mbombela Stadium presuming the result - coupled with Niger's 3-0 loss in Egypt - meant Bafana Bafana would go through as group winner on goal difference after it, Niger and Sierra Leone had finished equal on nine points.

But head-to-head results between tied teams decides who qualifies for the tournament in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, which put Niger though because of its better record against South Africa and Sierra Leone.