DURBAN - Bafana Bafana are set to play in a friendly international against France in March and against Zambia in the near future.
Bafana’s elimination from World Cup qualifying means that they will not be active in the World Cup qualifier playoffs taking place this month.
The game against France is set to be Bafana’s first game since their 1-0 defeat to Ghana which eliminated them from World Cup qualifying. It is also set to be the first time that they play against Les Bleus since beating them 2-1 in their final 2010 World Cup group stage match.
Bafana have struggled to play matches against the world’s top ranked teams over the last decade owing to their struggles to surge up the FIFA rankings. Bafana’s low FIFA rankings have also made it very difficult for South African footballers to secure contracts in top European leagues owing to the paperwork that needs to be completed for them to be made eligible.
“We are playing against France in March and I think Zambia after that. Those are two matches to prepare us for the 2023 Afcon qualifiers in June. You are playing against the World Champions. Strong opposition gives you proper preparation. Even if you lose the games it is not a train smash,” said Bafana coach Hugo Broos.
France are one of the World’s best teams. Not only are they the reigning World Cup champions but they more recently won the 2021 UEFA Nations League title. Broos believes that the game against France will allow the team to identify weaknesses that they have never seen before.
“You can learn a lot of things and get an indication of where your team is at. Immediately you will see where the weaknesses are. Such games tell you the distance the team has covered. They give you something more. Maybe that is what we needed and didn’t have for the qualifiers of the World Cup. We didn’t really play tough matches,” said Broos.
While Zambia are not exactly World giants nor exactly African giants amidst their struggles over recent years, they are still one of the top teams in the Southern African region. By playing them, Bafana will also potentially get the chance to test their defence against the likes of Patson Daka and Fashion Sakala, both of whom are making a strong impact in Europe with Leicester City and Rangers respectively.
Daka is viewed by many as the ultimate long-term successor to Premier League legend Jamie Vardy at Leicester.