Hugo Broos: Bafana Bafana weren’t ready for Rwanda’s ‘kick-and-rush football’

Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos. Picture: BackpagePix

Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos. Picture: BackpagePix

Published Nov 22, 2023


Rwanda delivered two stinging first-half blows from which South Africa never recovered as Bafana Bafana suffered a 2-0 defeat in their World Cup Group C qualifier at Stade Huye in Rwanda yesterday afternoon.

Afterwards, Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos said that his side lost the game to The Wasps within the first quarter and were never in a position to recover.

“We lost the game in the first 25 minutes, because we weren’t ready for the kick-and-rush football of Rwanda,” Broos said in an interview with Safa media after the Fifa World Cup qualifier

“I had told the players to be careful, but then we gave away two presents – two gift goals. We were not ready, and after the two goals, we changed a little bit.

“We were not good. I asked the boys to put Rwanda under pressure, and in the second half only once did they managed to pass the 60m mark into our territory.”

Broos refused to comment on the performances of the individuals who had let the team down on the day.

Said the coach: “I am not used to commenting on individual performances after a match, and I will not do it now. We lose with 11 players, and we win with 11 players.

“I say it again, we were not ready for the kick-and-rush football of Rwanda.”

After Bafana’s win over Benin a few days ago, Rwanda’s victory will rank as an upset of monumental proportions. It could prove to be a crippling blow for South Africa’s World Cup qualifying campaign.

In what was the first meeting between the two nations, 140th-ranked Rwanda – hitherto on a six-game winless run across all competitions – would have been seen as an easy assignment.

The result ended Bafana’s 11-match unbeaten run and was only their second loss in their past 18 games across all competitions.

A thunderstorm before the kick-off left a drenched pitch in its

wake, which made for a treacherous surface. It made life hell for Bafana, who arrogantly failed to respect the conditions. The opening minutes of play suggested that those conditions would be a great leveller, and that was the case as the first half wore on and the South Africans were made to look average.

Many of their passes were intercepted as they persisted with a short-passing game in their half, which lacked penetration. In the space of 16 minutes, the Rwandans scored twice to take an unbelievable

2-0 lead, through the efforts of Innocent Nshuti and Gilbert Mugisha.

Bafana’s chances of staging a fightback were stifled as Rwanda persisted with a long-ball game, which saw their attackers run hard at SA’s shaky defence. Even when Bafana dispossessed their opponents, they foolishly tried to build attacks from deep options without success.

Towards the end of the first half, Bafana managed to wrest the initiative and their pressure forced

two corners in injury time. In both instances, they were unable to capitalise, and they retired from the first stanza without a single shot at goal. In stark contrast, Rwanda had four. By the time the second half resumed, the ground staff had managed to clear some of the rainwater off the pitch, but conditions remained testing. Nevertheless, there were some encouraging signs for Bafana and 12 minutes into second half, they managed two shots at goal, although both were off target.

Coach Hugo Broos tried to inject some pace into the side’s attack by introducing Zakhele Lepasa for Bongokuhle Hlongwane. This helped to raise the attacking intent, but they continued to lose the ball in the final third and several promising movements came to nought.

By the time referee Amin Mohamed of Egypt blew the final whistle, Bafana had only four shots at goal, with only one on target, even though they enjoyed a glut of possession to the tune of 62%.