'I am proud to coach this national team': Broos clarifies he is staying with Bafana
Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos says he wants to continue coaching the national team.
Bafana were beaten 4-2 in a penalty shoot-out in their highly entertaining Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) semifinal clash against old rivals Nigeria at Stade de la Paix in Bouaké on Wednesday. A dramatic, incident-filled full time and extra time ended 1-1.
This means Bafana will play in the third and fourth place match on Saturday against Democratic Republic of Congo, who lost 1-0 to hosts Ivory Coast in the late semifinal in Abidjan on Wednesday.
Broos, 71, is the oldest coach at Afcon. His contract with the South African Football Association still has two years to run and questions about his future were raised after the loss to the Super Eagles
He said he is happy in his job.
This is good news considering the World Cup qualifiers resume in June and July and Bafana are going to need consistency in players and their technical team to build on their unexpected achievement of a first Nations Cup semifinal in 24 years in Ivory Coast and push for qualification for the global showpiece in Mexico, Canada and the US in 2026.
There has been speculation in the European press that Broos — who won league titles with Club Brugge and Anderlecht in his native Belgium and the 2017 Nations Cup with a young Cameroon side — might call time on his career after this tournament.
“I never said that I should stop, I never said it,” Broos said.
“It was only when you started talking about my age and I think it is normal that you think maybe it is time I should stop. But I never said I was going to stop coaching Bafana.
“I am happy with my job because the guys gave me a lot of satisfaction and I am proud to be a coach of this national team, but the future will tell us about the rest.”
Broos again worked his magic at the Nations Cup in Ivory Coast, steering Bafana, ranked 66th in the world and 12th in Africa and who have underachieved dramatically on the global stage for two decades, to an unexpected semifinal, with third place to play for.
The South Africans — who have three overseas-based players in their squad, and those play in unheralded leagues (Mihlali Mayambela in Cyprus, Sphephelo Sithole in the Portuguese second tier and Percy Tau in Egypt) — put in a brave and competitive showing against a Super Eagles who have just two African-based players.
Many of the Nigerians play for top European clubs — African Footballer of the Year Victor Osimhen is at Napoli, Ademola Lookman at Atalanta and Alex Iwobi at Arsenal and they have other players in the English Premier League and France.
Two of Bafana's big-name European stars, Burnley striker Lyle Foster (mental health issues) and RC Strasbourg striker Lebo Mothiba (injured), were not at the Nations Cup.
Asked to reflect on the narrow defeat to Nigeria, where Bafana missed out on a first Afcon final appearance in 26 years when South Africa lost to Egypt in Burkina Faso, Broos said the players were gutted in the dressing room because they came close.
“Football can be hard. When you see the performance of my team against Nigeria, we lost on penalties and because of that we miss out on the final. It is hard to accept, but we played a very good game and we were the best team in the first half.
“We had the best chances and Nigeria didn’t have one chance in the first half, nothing. They had a few chances in the second half, but it was because we changed a few things tactically and two minutes before the end of the 90 minutes we had three chances.
“If we scored there, it meant we would go to the final. But that can happen in football and it is a big disappointment for everyone because we felt we played a good game.
“It was not only today that we played a good game at this tournament, but I am happy and proud of my players. The disappointment is small, but the proudness is high because of how they performed and I am a proud coach, not only today.
“It is a defeat, we played a bad game against Cape Verde and won on penalties and against Nigeria we played a good game and we lost on penalties. That is also football, but again we have to think about the way we played this Afcon.
“I know everyone knows [now] South Africa as a good playing team and that is the most important thing.”
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