Bafana receive praise from Algerian players

RAYAN Aït-Nouri of Algeria, left, challenges Mihlali Mayambela of South Africa, centre, during the Fifa Series Algeria Edition 2024. | BackpagePix

RAYAN Aït-Nouri of Algeria, left, challenges Mihlali Mayambela of South Africa, centre, during the Fifa Series Algeria Edition 2024. | BackpagePix

Published Mar 30, 2024


THE French-born striker Anis Hadj Moussa did not hide his admiration for the South African national team Bafana Bafana, who held the highly-rated “Desert Foxes” of Algeria to a three-all stalemate in Algiers earlier this week.

Moussa, who plies his trade with Eredivisie club Vitesse Arnhem in the Netherlands, joined the fray as a second-half substitute for Yassine Benzia, who scored two goals.

After the match, Moussa declared: “It was a match at the highest level, during which we saw many comebacks and opportunities.

“We were late on two occasions, and in the end, we knew how to come back.

“The most important thing is that we were not defeated.

“The match was different from the match with Bolivia (in our first match). The South African team plays beautiful football and relies on team play, and it presented our team with several difficulties.”

Algerian defender, French-born Kevin Guitoun, regretted the draw with South Africa because he said the team was looking for a win. He plies his trade with FC Metz in France.

“We entered the match to achieve victory only,” said Guitoun. “We were able to achieve that with the scoring chances that came up in the match.

“We finished the first half trailing in the score and knew how to remedy the situation in the second stage.

“But this team showed why they finished third in Ivory Coast (Afcon) and play beautiful football.”

In retrospect, the Desert Foxes, under Vladimir Petković, their new Bosnian-born Swiss coach, may have given the South Africans too much respect ahead of their clash in Algiers.

Farès Chaïbi, the French-born midfielder who plays for Bundesliga club Eintracht Frankfurt, said before the match that the South African team included many “distinguished” players.

“We have a very difficult task ahead of us. The South African national team includes distinguished players in its ranks. They have a great reputation on the African scene. For our part, we will try to do what we must and wait for what happens,” said Chaibi.

Baghdad Bounedjah, a striker who plays for Qatar Stars League club Al Sadd, said a team that finished third at Afcon deserved to be respected.

Said Bounedjah: “South Africa has a respectable team, as evidenced by its third position in the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Cote d’Ivoire.”

Bafana coach Hugo Broos was highly pleased with the performance against Algeria, which he regarded as one of the best national teams in Africa.

“We played against a very strong team, but I do not think there was much difference between the quality of our game and the quality of the game in Algeria,” said Broos. “That means we have progressed in the last few months. We already showed that in the Afcon, and we did it again against Algeria.

“So, I don’t think we have to be afraid anymore of playing against any team in Africa.”

Next, Bafana will play away to the Super Eagles of Nigeria on June 3, before hosting Zimbabwe a week later in the World Cup 2026 qualifying.

After two matches, the Broos-led team are placed second on the log, trailing leaders Rwanda by a point, while their June opponents, Nigeria and Zimbabwe are placed third and fifth, respectively, both with two points.