Bafana’s Hugo Broos slams Evidence Makgopa doubters after Afcon exploits

Evidence Makgopa of South Africa shoots and scores as he is challenged by Ghanem Romain Saiss of Morocco during the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations match between Morocco and South Africa at Laurent Pokou Stadium in San Pedro, Ivory Coast

Bafana coach Hugo Broos Broos said his belief in Evidence Makgopa (pictured right) had not wavered at any point during the Africa Cup of Nations. Picture: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Published Jan 31, 2024


Following their shock 2-0 win over Morocco in the Africa Cup of Nations round of 16 clash, Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos hit back at the critics of star player Evidence Makgopa.

Makgopa scored the crucial opener in the first half, which meant Morocco had to chase the game for the better part of an hour. Teboho Mokoena sealed the win in stoppage time, but not before Achraf Hakimi missed a penalty minutes before which would have levelled the score.

Broos, who won Afcon with Cameroon in 2017, has cut a quietly confident figure in this tournament as Bafana began slowly but have produced when it mattered.

Broos said his belief in Makgopa had not wavered at any point.

‘I always believed’

“A nice goal from Makgopa and those who doubted Makgopa when he was with us; I always believed in Makgopa,” said Broos after dispatching the top-ranked team in Africa.

“But when you work with this guy, Makgopa, he is a very good striker. Believe me. And he’s improving, he works hard, and he made a fantastic goal.”

The result has drawn praise from high quarters with legendary former Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane, SA minister of Sports and recreation Zizi Kodwa and Rugby World Cup Cup-winning Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber among those with special tributes.

Bafana began the tournament poorly, with a 2-0 loss to Mali which went to script according to the experts. However, Broos’s charges responded in emphatic fashion with a 4-0 thrashing of neighbours Namibia - who themselves had scored an upset win over Tunisia.

Finally, Bafana scored a strategic 0-0 draw with Tunisia in their final Group E to ensure they advanced to the knockout stage of the competition.

“I think I said maybe in the beginning of Afcon that it’s very important that you grow in the tournament,” he said.

“And I think South Africa grew in the tournament. We played against Mali, and we lost, but then, we were much better against Namibia and had a difficult game against Tunisia.

“Today against Morocco [we won], so we become, every day, better and better. And this is very important.”

Bafana, ranked 12th in Africa, now move on to the quarter-finals where they will face another surprise package in Cape Verde.


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