Financial stocks and shares were not the only items plummeting this week as the football fortunes of 2010 World Cup hosts South Africa took another nosedive.

The effect of a disastrous 2010 World Cup-African Nations Cup second-round qualification campaign was felt on the monthly rankings from world governing body Fifa.

Seldom has the national team nickname of Bafana Bafana (The Boys) seemed more appropriate as their ranking fell to 20 in Africa and 85 in the world less than two years before tackling some of the giants at the World Cup.

Although guaranteed a place at the World Cup as hosts, South Africa had to compete in the qualifiers because they double as eliminators for the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations in Angola.

And although Bafana must have feared the worst when the draw placed them in the same group as long-time bogey team Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea and Sierra Leone were considered anything but insurmountable obstacles.

But as South Africa prepare to face Equatorial Guinea away on Saturday in their final fixture, dreams of warming up for the World Cup by competing in Angola five months earlier have been dashed.

If Bafana Bafana lose they will finish bottom of the table and suffer their greatest humiliation since being readmitted to international football in 1992 after almost three decades of apartheid-induced isolation.

Runaway leaders Nigeria (15 points) have already secured a place in the final qualifying phase, with Sierra Leone (seven), South Africa (four) and surprisingly poor Equatorial Guinea (three) trailing in the distance.

Should they win here and Sierra Leone lose to the ‘Super Eagles’ in Abuja, South Africa would climb one place to second, but have no chance of claiming one of eight slots reserved for the best runners-up from the 12 mini-leagues.