Hugo Broos hopes Bafana can exploit Afcon chaos during Morocco quarter-final

The South African take part in a training session ahead of their Africa Cup of Nations Round of 16 clash against Morocco. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

The South African take part in a training session ahead of their Africa Cup of Nations Round of 16 clash against Morocco. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Published Jan 30, 2024


Bafana Bafana head coach Hugo Broos and his men have a firm belief in their ability to shock the continent as they prepare to meet the No 1-ranked nation at the Africa Cup of Nations.

The South African national side will meet the Atlas Lions at the Laurent Pokou Stadium 10pm tonight in the final round of 16 clash, looking to defy the odds.

Bafana will come up against a star-studded Morocco side in the hunt to reward their ‘golden generation' with trophy success, following a historic Fifa World Cup journey in 2022, where they reached the last four.

Under the tutelage of Broos, however, Bafana have already met Morocco twice in the qualification stages of this tournament, with both teams walking away with a win each.

With nations like Cameroon and Egypt already sent packing, Morocco and defending champions Senegal have now been tipped to lift the championship. However, the 2023 edition of the competition has seen quite a few shock results in both the group stages as well as the knockout rounds (insert the Pharaohs here).

It is the type of chaos Broos hopes to benefit from.

The 71-year-old coach lifted the competition with Cameroon in 2017 but now finds himself in a different position having to guide a less-fancied Bafana to their first continental crown in 28 years.

Yesterday, Broos spoke to the media ahead of their clash against the north African nation and shared that he and his players understand the important nature of their duty on game day.

He also added that having seen so many results go against the so-called big nations, Bafana see this as an opportunity to grab a scalp of their own when they meet the Atlas Lions.

“I think it's an important game for both teams. We're in the stage of the tournament where you win it all or you lose so that both teams will be aware of the difficult task that awaits us tomorrow (tonight) against Morocco,” he said.

“Morocco is No 1 in Africa and they had a fantastic World Cup. They're full of high-class players, so it will be very difficult but the other side is this Afcon is full of surprises.

“We saw it in the last few weeks, big countries are already home so it's possible (to beat anyone) in this Afcon.

“We also beat Morocco a year ago in Johannesburg. We played a very good game (that day), probably our best game, and that means we believe it's possible tomorrow to beat Morocco but we have to achieve our very best level.”

Morocco have qualified for the quarter-finals in their last three tournaments but do not have overwhelming historical dominance over Bafana. South Africa have won three of the last seven competitive meetings against the Atlas Lions, including the most recent meeting at FNB Stadium.

Although Broos might be confident of yet another excellent result against Morocco, Bafana will need to fix their scoring issues having scored in just one of their last five outings.

Elsewhere tonight, Mali will face Burkina Faso at 7pm in the penultimate round of 16 match.

Nigeria, Angola, the DRC and Guinea have already progressed to the quarter-finals, while there were matches last night between Cape Verde and Mauritania, and Senegal and Ivory Coast.

IOL Sport