Broos not concerned by Lesotho draw as Bafana jet off for AFCON

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The South African men’s senior football team was given a breakfast send-off at a hotel at the O.R Tambo International Airport in Kempton Park on Thursday. The team has departed for Ivory Coast where they will be taking part in the Africa Cup of Nations that commences on Saturday.

Bafana were held to a disappointing goalless draw against neighbours Lesotho on Wednesday, but coach Hugo Broos says they will be ready for their opening AFCON match against Mali on Tuesday evening.

Bafana Bafana’s send-off was attended by SAFA hierarchy, Bafana legends and the media.

Coach Hugo Broos says they will be ready for their first match against Mali, despite the disappointing results against minnows.

“I know when you see the game and the results you will be thinking Lesotho 0-0, if you see only the results it’s true but I told the players just to show their mentality and they did it. But the result for me was not important, I know what we did and what we are going to do in the next few days and we will be ready for our first match against Mali and I am sure of it.”

Bafana are in the same group as Tunisia, Mali and neighbours Namibia but coach Broos promised that they will reach the next round.

“This is maybe the most difficult side of AFCON group stages because you are playing against teams that are motivated who wants to go through and the little countries to the biggest countries and they are motivated. But, if we can achieve the level we want we can go through the group stages I’m sure of it.”

SAFA President Danny Jordaan is counting on considerable support for the team in Ivory Coast.

“There is great support for Bafana in Ivory Coast. They said if Bafana come here we are ready so we are looking at great support that will offset the number of Malians.”

Goalkeeper Ronwen Williams received the South African flag from the South African Police Service on behalf of the team.

“It’s an amazing feeling receiving the flag on behalf of the players. This represents over 50 million for South Africans, so we will carry this with pride.”

Bafana legend Mark Williams was also there to wish the players well. He scored two goals in the final against Tunisia that ensured the team won its only AFCON title in 1996. Williams is hoping his presence will motivate the current players to do well in the tournament.

“We had a president coming at 6 o’clock in the morning. Madiba to come and visit every day that was a good feeling and I am hoping that for the players when they see us, we are giving that bit of hope and belief in them and they can go to the field and showcase it.”

Another legend Edward “Magents” Motale was also part of the 1996 victorious squad. He shared some of the values that helped them to win the prestigious trophy.

“We had that self-belief, we had discipline, and we stuck to instructions and mostly discretion because we had so many talented players in our squad, everything was easier and we had a mixed bag of internationals and locals,”

Bafana will kick off their campaign against Mali on Tuesday at 10pm South African time.

Video: Bafana Bafana’s send off to AFCON