In a rare show of fierce commitment to Bafana Bafana's cause, the South African Football Association (SAFA) have arranged four friendlies for the national team ahead of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers and the Africa Cup of Nations in Côte d’Ivoire in January next year.
This clutch of friendlies may be the result of SAFA appointing several people with football backgrounds in administrative posts such as technical director (Walter Steenbok), chief executive officer (former Banyana Banyana player Lydia Monyepao) and head of women's football (Romaney Pinnock). These are a few of several appointments which will ensure that various national teams will be assured of the necessary attention.
Bafana Bafana will have one chance to qualify for the 2026 FIFA World Cup and that will require them to win Group C of the African qualifiers. In this group, they will face old enemy Nigeria who have already played in six World Cups. On three occasions they progressed to the knockout rounds.
It will help that Bafana Bafana will be razor sharp and not short of match practice when they start in the qualifiers. They have an excellent chance to build a solid team at the Africa Cup of Nations in Côte d’Ivoire in January next year.
SAFA has confirmed that the team will host Namibia on 9 September 2023 (kick-off is at 15h00), DR Congo on 12 September (18h00) and Eswatini on 13 October.
Coach Hugo Broos’ charges will then travel to the west of the continent to face Africa Cup of Nations hosts Côte d’Ivoire on 17 October, five days after the AFCON draw.
“These matches are in support of Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos as he continues with his preparation for the Africa Cup of Nations at the beginning of next year, and the start of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in November this year,” said SAFA CEO Lydia Monyepao in an interview with safa.com.
The venues of the matches in South Africa will be confirmed in the coming weeks.
One of SAFA's new sponsors, betting company 10bet is pleased that the team will have a hit-out against several teams to prepare for future tournaments.
“The national team has been going from strength to strength, and we at 10bet can’t wait for the upcoming international friendlies to kick off," said Nick Moyo, Sponsorship Manager at 10bet South Africa.
"Millions of football enthusiasts and the nation at large have your back, and this is an opportunity to continue rallying behind the team along their exciting journey ahead. Good Luck Bafana Bafana, you have our support."
Bafana Bafana has been drawn in Group C at the draw for the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers conducted in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, last July and they were pitted against Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Benin, Rwanda and Lesotho.
The 2026 FIFA World Cup will be jointly hosted by Canada, Mexico and the United States of America. The World Cup qualifiers will start in November and conclude in 2025. The Africa Cup of Nations will be held from 13 January to 11 February 2024.