OPINION: Do or die for Afcon's best eight

Over the last two weeks, fans across the African continent have been treated to an entertaining display of football that has culminated in 46 goals scored in 24 matches and eight teams progressing to the knockout stages of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon). The other eight teams disappointingly are going home following unsuccessful campaigns.

The tournament has been particularly disappointing for South African fans who, after much belief and excitement, were left to witness their 'pride and joy' crash out in unfortunate fashion.

Bafana Bafana only managed to register a single point from their three games, despite playing some of the most refreshing football the country has seen in years.

This after a promise by coach Shakes Mashaba and his squad that they would not be going to Equatorial Guinea just to make up the numbers, and that they would be looking to go all the way.

There have been mixed reactions to Bafana's performance, but the team will be glad to know that there are fans who believe they did their best given the calibre of Algeria, Ghana and Senegal in group C, and that the future certainly does look bright for a nation that was once amongst the continent's best.

The dream of continental supremacy continues for host nation Equatorial Guinea along with Congo, Tunisia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Algeria, Cote d'Ivoire and Guinea who will all battle it out for the four semi-final spots this weekend.

Guinea are arguably the most fortunate to have qualified for the knockout rounds after they overcame fellow group D rival Mali in a draw of lots.

The two teams were inseparable after all group games were concluded, having finished with a points tally of three and a goal difference of zero.

Of the four quarter-final clashes, the most highly anticipated will definitely be the Elephants of Cote d'Ivoire up against the Desert Foxes of Algeria on Sunday, with both touted as favourites to win the competition.

In recent years, Afcon has served up several surprises, such as Zambia winning it in 2012 and Burkina Faso making the final two years ago.

Similar occurrences are certainly expected again as we count the days down to the final on 8 February.

Morena Mothupi is an Eyewitness News sport reporter.