Travel-weary Bafana to play friendlies against Andorra, Algeria

Bafana Bafana
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Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos says he expects his players to be up for the challenge, despite the long travel time the team had to endure to get to the capital of Algeria, Algiers.

Bafana will take on Andorra and Algeria in international friendlies in Algeria next week.

Broos says the squad only arrived in Algiers, 30 hours after leaving South Africa.

Bafana Bafana had to travel to Algeria in two different groups. The first group of 15 players left South Africa on Saturday afternoon and reached their final destination on Sunday evening.

The second group, which consisted mainly of players from Mamelodi Sundowns had to delay their travel as they were involved in a Nedbank Cup second-round match on Sunday evening.

But Broos says he believes his players will be up for the challenge, despite the limited time they had to prepare for Thursday’s match against Andorra.

“Very exhausting trip yesterday of 30 hours. So we left the hotel in Joburg on Sunday afternoon at 15h30 and we arrived in Alaba yesterday evening at 20h30. We had three different flights, we had a lot of waiting time at the airport, so it was very exhausting. Secondly, we are still waiting for eight players who played on Sunday so they will arrive but will do the same trip as we did which means they arrive this evening.”

South Africa will face Andorra and Algeria as part of the FIFA Series International friendlies pilot project which starts this month. Similar events will be staged in Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka.

The project is aimed at facilitating inter-confederation friendlies, something that will offer the so-called smaller countries in world football an opportunity to face countries from different confederations.

Despite FIFA’s good intentions, there are fears that some Sundowns players will miss the friendlies due to being battle-weary and/or injured.

“We have a game on Thursday already so it’s only two days it will be problematic for those players to play the game, and there are some things I’m not really pleased about but I cannot go into detail but I just hope that my fear will not come true and that we will have a positive feeling after the two games we have to play here,” Broos added.

This assignment is Bafana’s first since their impressive performance which saw them finish third in the Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast earlier this year.

“I think it’s very important to go on with what we achieved in the Afcon. It’s not enough to be in 3rd place and 10th now in the CAF ranking and then in three months, we are again number 13. I don’t think that’s what we have to do so we have to go on now and try good results and try maybe to have a better place in the ranking,” Broos elaborates.

Meanwhile, Broos says the door is not completely closed for Bafana’s Burnley forward, Lyle Foster. He turned his back on the national team for the AFCON tournament, opting to remain in England with his struggling side. Foster cited mental issues as a reason for not joining the national team.

“I will try to have contact in the next days or weeks with Kompany maybe I can go when I’m in Belgium I can go and see a game of Burnley and talk to Foster and talk to Kompany and see what we can expect in the future from him certainly looking at the games in June,” Broos explains.

The two matches in Algeria will help prepare Bafana for the forthcoming back-to-back 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in June.