Bafana’s AFCON success expected to attract overseas interest: Broos

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Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos says the team’s great run at the 2023 African Cup of Nations in Côte d’Ivoire will attract interest from overseas teams.

Broos claims that the incredible campaign has proved that the Premier Soccer League is a very competitive league.

Bafana will play against the Cape Verde Islands in a quarter-final match on Saturday evening.

South Africa have only two players who are plying their trade in the top five leagues in the world. Lyle Foster plays for Burnley in England, while Lebo Mothiba is on the books of Strasbourg in France.

The current AFCON squad only has two players who are based in Europe – Mihlali Mayambela and Sphephelo Sithole.

Coach Broos hopes many SA players will attract interest from the big leagues in Europe after this competition.

“It’s important also because if we can go on in this tournament, I think there will be more interest for South African players; the interest of SA players is not so big,” says Broos.

SA will take on Cape Verde in the quarter-finals hoping to win and reach the semi-finals for the first time since the 2000 AFCON in Nigeria. The two teams have played five times before, both winning twice and drawing the other match.

Broos likens the Islanders to Group E opponents Namibia, but admits they are slightly better.

“We have a team that has the same qualities as Namibia, but for me, Cape Verde is better than Namibia, so that means we know what to do. It will not be 4-0, I don’t think, so let’s hope, but the most important thing is to win the game.”

The PSL has the most number of representatives at AFCON behind the French top-tier league, with 20 Bafana Bafana players, five from Namibia and five from other countries, which makes it 30 in total. There are also six players plying their trade in the National First Division.

The Belgian praises the standard of SA’s PSL.

“I think my players are so motivated, and they want to show that they are now playing on a higher level in a championship in South Africa. We are also playing differently; the championship is more technical than physical, and we changed that against Morocco so that we are physically as good as the others,” says Broos.

Broos won the Afcon with Cameroon in 2017 with a young, inexperienced, and unfancied team in Gabon.

Bafana Bafana striker Evidence Makgopa believes Broos’ experience in winning Afcon can inspire the team to reach the same heights.

“The coach has experience of winning AFCON and he also believes in us – as a team. We have a good relationship with the coach, and he will help us going forward,” says Makgopa.

Makgopa has been criticised for his lack of scoring goals, but he scored the crucial first goal against Morocco in the second-round match. He says he is not fazed by the criticism from the fans and will do anything to repay the faith shown by the coach.

“You cannot force someone to love you, and you cannot force someone to love you for me; I just have to take it the way it is, move forward, and play my football,” says Makgopa.

The match will kick off at 10 pm South African time and will be televised live on SABC TV.

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