The South African national team sealed their place in the last four of the continental competition thanks to the heroics of captain Ronwen Williams. The Mamelodi Sundowns shot-stopper saved four penalties to see his side over the line, and they will now take on Nigeria in the semi-finals.
Bafana are one of a few squads that were predominantly made up of players playing in their local leagues.
With just two European-based players in their entire 23-man squad, Bafana have gone through the likes of Tunisia, Morocco and most recently Cape Verde to keep their dream run in the Afcon going.
Broos has always advocated for the improvement of the standards in the
PSL since his arrival, which has seen him ruffle a few feathers as well. Speaking after his side sealed a first semi-final berth in 20 years, the 71-year-old mentor urged the PSL to work around the attention and respect that Bafana have garnered for the nation.
“South African players are in the picture now, so that means there will be more interest in South African football,” he said.
“I hope that those who saw the games are now convinced that the level of the PSL has to be higher. We have to work on that.
“I think it is the right moment to do that now, but again being in the semi-final is something very special for South African football and let’s hope now that maybe we can make a surprise again because now the hunger is big to play that final next Sunday.”
Bafana will face the Super Eagles at the Afcon for the first time since 2000 on Wednesday at 7pm. The 1996 champions were almost on the brink of elimination against the Blue Sharks, having put on a far from convincing performance.
Broos, who won the competition with Cameroon in 2017, admitted that his side probably played their worst game in the tournament so far and would need to improve against Nigeria.
Said Broos: “Let’s say six hours ago I was 71, now I am 75. It was a very stressful game, certainly with penalties.
“I saw and felt that my players were really nervous. There was a lot of pressure because everyone wanted to qualify for the semi-finals, and we didn’t play like in our previous match.”
However, he expects his boys to play with more freedom, given that they’ve already exceeded the expectations of most people.
He added: “It is maybe bizarre for me to say that, but for us our Afcon has already been a success.
“We are in the semi-finals. Nobody thought we would do that when we left South Africa to come here.
“There will be less pressure on us, I am certain of that. That doesn’t mean we don’t want to play the final, certainly not.”