Bafana Bafana coach, Hugo Broos has challenged Bafana Bafana to qualify for the FIFA World Cup after a long absence from the global football event. South Africa last qualified for the World Cup in Japan and Korea back in 2002 which is 21 years ago.
Bafana played in the 2010 edition as hosts, after failing to qualify for the event in 2006, 2014, 2018, and also in 2022.
Just like in the last two months, Bafana Bafana will play two international matches this month. But this time it’s going to be two crucial 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers within the space of three days.
First, it’s the home tie against Benin on Saturday. The second match three days later will be an away fixture against Rwanda, in Butare on Tuesday afternoon.
Two weeks ago, Broos announced his preliminary squad of 44-players, trimming it to the final 23-man squad, last Friday. Bafana Bafana are in a tricky Group C along with Benin, Rwanda, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Lesotho. Broos says this is an important week for South African football.
“This camp is an important camp but also a difficult camp. It’s an important camp because yes, we are playing for qualifiers for the World Cup.. It’s only 12 years ago, but its 21 years ago that they qualified for the world cup in 2010. It was a little present because you were the country that organised it.”
It’s always a daunting task for the African continent to qualify for the FIFA World Cup. Broos understands that only nine nations out of 54 federations on the continent will qualify for the next World Cup.
“It’s time that South Africa can qualify again for such a big tournament so therefore it’s a very important camp and also the fact there are two games now, we have to be careful that we have a good start.”
South African football is experiencing a purple patch at the moment. Broos praised Mamelodi Sundowns, who were crowned inaugural African Football League Champions, this past weekend.
“I have to congratulate the players of Sundowns for the fantastic performance of yesterday. Certainly, when you see the programme that they had for the last six weeks, it’s nearly irresponsible playing every three days and travelling all over Africa. So, I think we, South Africa can be very happy with such a performance and it’s a very good thing for African football.”
Bafana Bafana already qualified for next year’s Afcon tournament in Ivory Coast, but qualifying for the World Cup is the ultimate goal for any player. Bafana Bafana captain Ronwen Williams explains:
“Glad to be here again looking forward to the games. It’s obviously the start of the World Cup campaign you know we’ve got the experience, the valuable experience we gained over the past two years. You know the pain we felt has carried us through the last year or so, glad to be part looking forward to the camp.”
Bafana Bafana forward Percy Tau had this to say:
“We want to win, and we also want to go to the World Cup. I think everyone plays a role in helping us achieving that. We need all the support you can come and give us; it’s either from the fans or the media. We just want everyone to be part of this, and yeah, we are excited about the challenges we have going to the Afcon.”
Bafana Bafana assembled at the High-Performance Centre in Pretoria and will only travel to Durban a day before the match.
Broos challenges Bafana to qualify for FIFA World Cup: