(SATSports) – First half goals from Saifeldin Maki and Mohammed Abdelrahman did the damage for Sudan, taking them to their first finals since 2012.
Going into the game in the Al-Hilal Stadium in Omdurman, South Africa knew a draw would be enough to qualify – but instead they imploded against a Sudan side fired with real purpose and motivation.
And after Maki gave Sudan a lead on 14 minutes, the Falcons of Jediane never looked back.
Half an hour into the game, Sudan scored their critical second – a stunning solo effort from Abdelrahman, who picked the ball up out wide halfway inside the South Africa half, burst into the penalty area and beat both the last man and the goalkeeper with the same move.
It is the first time Sudan have qualified for an African Cup of Nations finals since 2012 – and only the third time since 1976 for the country that won the trophy in 1970.
South Africa, however, will return to the drawing board in the wake of yet another disappointing campaign for the 1995 champions.
In the other game in the group, already-qualified Ghana beat bottom side Sao Tome and Principe 3-1.
Nicholas Opoku, Jordan Ayew and Baba Rahman put the Black Stars into a commanding position before a late Fernandez Carvalho consolation for Sao Tome.
Earlier on Sunday, Group J concluded with an exciting game in Tunis in which a 4th-minute Jaziri goal and an Akapo own goal helped Tunisia to a 2-1 win over Equatorial Guinea.
Tanzania, meanwhile, beat Libya 1-0 thanks to a scrambled goal from Simon Msuva.
And in Group A – from which Chad had already been disqualified – Namibia beat group winners Guinea 2-1 thanks to two goals from captain Peter Shalulile. Mamadou Kane scored Guinea’s effort.