Bafana keep their Afcon dreams alive

Themba Zwane celebrates goal with Thapelo Morena during Africa Cup of Nations match against Namibia. Picture: Mehrez Toujani / BackpagePix

Themba Zwane celebrates goal with Thapelo Morena during Africa Cup of Nations match against Namibia. Picture: Mehrez Toujani / BackpagePix

Published Jan 23, 2024


The South African senior men’s national team kept their Africa Cup of Nations dreams alive with a resounding performance trouncing Namibia 4-0 on Sunday.

Two goals by Player of the Match Themba Zwane helped Bafana jump into second place in Group E, with one more match to go to secure their passage through to the knock out stages of the competition.

Much had been made of Bafana’s chances of progressing from the group stages ahead of the tournament and those chances seemed to drop even further when they lost their opener against Mali.

However, national team head coach Hugo Broos reconfigured his boys to perfection as they scored four goals to seal their victory against Namibia while keeping a clean sheet in the process.

There were several notable standout performances on the night as Percy Tau made up for his opening game penalty miss by dispatching one this time around to open the floodgates.

Tebogo Mokoena and Thapelo Morena were also exceptional in their respective performances and the Mamelodi Sundowns duo notched up an assist each on the night.

The 71-year-old coach admitted that his side started the game off with jitters given the importance but quickly settled which saw them score three first-half goals.

He also revealed how a thorough inspection of the Brave Warriors helped them keep the likes of Peter Shalulile and Deon Hotto ineffective.

“We knew we had to win the game to have some chance of going past the group stages,” said Broos.

“We were a little nervous at the beginning of the game but more and more we got settled into the game and we scored the first goal.

“We played a good game, we did a good analysis of the opponent.

We showed the players where the weaknesses were and where the strong points were.”

“We knew they were dangerous with long balls and we trained for it and that’s why we had a good game, a good win for the goal difference and an important win because now we have a boost of confidence ahead of the big game on Wednesday against a very strong opponent.

“We need to win that game as well if we want to stay in Ivory Coast and we will prepare for it and hopefully we’re ready for it.”

Bafana will look to seal their fate in the round of 16 of the competition with yet another fine performance against the Carthage Eagles on Wednesday at 7pm.

Broos’s men will do well to be wary of a desperate Tunisia side who are currently at the bottom of Group E and need all three points to have any chance of progressing themselves.

Mali lead the group heading into the final set of fixtures with Bafana in second, Namibia in third and Tunisia in last place.

The Mercury