Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos has assembled a formidable side since taking the reins of the national side, just over two years ago. The 71-year-old Belgian’s main task was to rebuild the team after Bafana Bafana failed to qualify for the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
Broos wants to qualify for the AFCON tournament, whilst ensuring Bafana Bafana qualify for the next FIFA World Cup in 2026.
Broos replaced Molefi Ntseki as coach on the 5th of May 2021. The former Cameroon national coach passed his first test after helping Bafana to qualify for AFCON 2023, together with the highly rated Morocco in Group K.
“I am very happy with what we saw at training for the past three days also on Monday when we did all the tests. So the boys have a lot of goodwill, they did very well, very good. So now we will analyse the results together with the doctor and the physical coach and it will give us the information certainly in preparation for the AFCON in January. So September we will do other tests,” says Broos.
Broos says his players are used to his coaching philosophy and know what’s expected from them.
“That is something we build up during the last two years. So we searched a lot, we used a lot of players and certainly last year in September, the puzzle was completed; suddenly we had a group that was hungry. We had a very good mentality, the way they treat each other, how they are training, when you see the games now. When you play little games both teams are playing for winning, they are really serious,” Broos adds.
But the Belgian mentor admits that the rebuilding process took longer than expected.
“The search was a little bit longer than I expected. But now I think I have the players which want to go and work and we did a big progression. I think if you compare with last year in September or even last year in June when we played in Morocco the progression is there. But we still have to achieve some things and progress in some things more,” Broos elaborates.
Despite some severe criticism, especially after last year’s heavy loss to the World Champions, France, Broos still enjoys the job as national coach.
“I’ve always been happy, not in the moments where there were a lot of critics because they were not honest, and this is something I was angry about when they told me that we didn’t do good. Okay we don’t play good but every time I come back to the game against France the criticism I read and I heard at that moment this is not honest, they just wanted to destabilize my position as the Bafana Bafana coach. So now I hope people understand what we did in the past two years,” Broos reiterates.
The final AFCON qualifier against Morocco on Saturday is a mere formality as both teams have already qualified for the biennial tournament. Saturday’s match will be played in front of an expected packed out FNB Stadium. More than 41 000 tickets has already been sold for the match against the 2022 FIFA World Cup semi-finalists.
VIDEO: Broos happy with progress made since taking over as Bafana coach