Hugo Broos hopes Bafana players find motivation to play DRC after loss to Nigeria

Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos during a 2023 Africa Cup of Nations press conference at Palais de la Culture in Abidjan, Cote D'ivoire on February 9 2024.
Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos during a 2023 Africa Cup of Nations press conference at Palais de la Culture in Abidjan, Cote D'ivoire on February 9 2024.
Image: Djaffar Ladjal/BackpagePix

The debate on the significance or relevance of the third place play-off at major tournaments has raged for years and Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos has weighed in on the contentious matter.

Bafana take on Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) bronze medal match at the Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium in Abidjan on Saturday but Broos says the encounter is “only for statistics”.

The focus of the tournament is on the final on Sunday between hosts Ivory Coast and regional rivals Nigeria and Broos is hoping his players will find the motivation to play in this match after the disappointment of losing to Nigeria in the semifinals on Wednesday. 

“There was disappointment on Wednesday because we played a very good game against Nigeria where we showed that we are a good team. We are out of the final after 120 minutes of football and penalties, it is always a big disappointment for all of us,” said Broos ahead of the clash with DRC.

He said he was proud of the performance of the players for reaching the semifinals. 

“But this is a coach who is proud to be coaching this team. We did a good Afcon and again when you play this good in a semifinal, the disappointment is big. The game tomorrow [Saturday] is special and it depends on which team is motivated.

“If you ask my advice, this game does not need to be played because the most important thing in a tournament like this is who finishes No 1.

“If you are No 2 or 4, for me it is exactly the same because this is only for statistics. What is important is who is going to finish No 1 because that is what will always be remembered.

“I hope that my players would have recovered from the knock-down they had on Wednesday.” 

Throughout the tournament, Broos has stuck largely with the same starting line-up but he will be forced to make changes due to injuries and the unavailability of suspended Grant Kekana and Thapelo Maseko who was ruled out of the tournament last week. 

This situation will open the door for fringe players like Veli Mothwa, Nkosinathi Sibisi, Jayden Adams, Terrence Mashego and Oswin Appollis to play some part in this match on Saturday. 

“There are some players who are not available due to injuries and there will be changes in the team. We have Thapelo Maseko who is injured and his tournament is finished. There is the red card of Grant Kekana and we have three to four players who have suffered injuries. This means we will have to wait for our last training on Friday night to see who will be available for the game.

“We have a few problems, but I hope players will be mentally ready and that is the most important thing. I hope they will be ready to go again 100% like we did against Nigeria because DR Congo are also a good team.”


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