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Hugo Broos praises Bafana Bafana’s tenacity in Abidjan

Themba Zwane of South Africa (l) celebrates goal with Lebo Mothiba

Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos praised his team after their friendly againast Ivory Coast. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Published Oct 19, 2023


Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos has heaped praise on his team’s approach following their epic battle against African giants Ivory Coast.

The South Africans showed great tenacity and resolve to hold the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations hosts to a 1-1 draw at a packed Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny in Abidjan on Tuesday night.

Broos’ men had been berated following a disappointing goalless stalemate against neighbours Eswatini at the FNB Stadium on Friday night.

However, Bafana have seemingly sprung a surprise on most of their detractors and answered the questions of a ‘weak’ mentality posed to them by Broos himself.

Themba Zwane put the visitors ahead early in the first half but Sebastien Haller grabbed the equaliser with less than half-an-hour to go.

The Belgian coach felt his side had done enough to sneak a famous win against the Elephants but was left impressed by his team’s display and psychological strength.

“I think South Africa played a very good game against a very good team. There was a good mentality on the pitch and they played good football. It was not only defending – the way we attacked Ivory Coast sometimes, we put them in trouble,” Broos told the SA Football Association website.

“It’s a pity that in the second half, the biggest chance of the game, we didn’t score – otherwise it should’ve been 2-0 and we could’ve won the game.

“But I said to the players before the game that we should try to have a good result but try first to have a good performance – and we had a good performance today.”

The 71-year-old had always highlighted the importance of having his side test themselves against some of the best teams in the world in friendly internationals and therefore welcomed a chance to test his boys against a mostly European-based Ivory Coast outfit.

The 2017 Afcon winner with Cameroon admitted that his side found it challenging to pick themselves up for their match against lowly Eswatini.

“Yes, that’s maybe a step this team has to make. If you play against a weaker team, you need the same concentration, the same focus and the same mentality as if you play Ivory Coast,” he said.

“I know it’s easier to be focused when you play Ivory Coast than when you play Eswatini and plus the fact that when you come to pitch and there are 200 spectators to support you, that is very difficult when you play Eswatini,” he explained.

“Today there was a full stadium all supporting Ivory Coast, but you know, that gives motivation to players also. So, I hope for Benin next month, South Africa will support us and will be at the stadium.”

Bafana will next reconvene for the 2026 World Cup qualifiers against Benin (November 13 at home) and Rwanda (November 20 away).