• Friday, June 14, 2024
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BusinessDay

2026 World Cup qualifier: Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos happy with draw against Super Eagles

Hugo Broos (1)

Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos has expressed satisfaction with his team’s 1-1 draw against the Super Eagles of Nigeria in their 2026 World Cup qualifier at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo on Friday night.

The result places South Africa fourth in Group C, with four points from three matches, trailing leaders Lesotho, Rwanda, and Benin, and ahead of Nigeria and Zimbabwe.

“First of all, I think the result of a draw is fair; we had our chances, and Nigeria had theirs,” Broos said in a post-match as his team prepared for their next fixture against Zimbabwe at Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein on Tuesday.

“I have to congratulate my players. As you know, we had a terrible travel experience to Nigeria on Wednesday, arriving at 2 AM on Thursday after a 20-hour journey.”

Broos praised his players’ mentality and effort, noting the difficulty of the match against a strong Nigerian side. South Africa led 1-0 at halftime thanks to a goal from midfielder Themba Zwane, but Nigeria equalized immediately after the restart.

“In the first half, we played fantastic football, created chances, and could have scored more. It was unfortunate that we conceded a goal just two minutes into the second half, which made the game challenging,” Broos added.

“We fought from the 46th to the 95th minute, and I believe the result is fair.”

With three rounds of matches played, Lesotho leads Group C. Broos remarked on the improved performance of smaller football nations, highlighting the unpredictability and competitiveness of the qualifiers.

“When you look at the draw, you expect Nigeria to be the group leader. Our aim was to secure at least a point or avoid defeat, which was crucial for us,” Broos said. “The pressure was on Nigeria because they have had three successive draws, and winning home games is vital in qualifiers. We are happy with the point.”

Broos emphasized the challenging nature of their group, where any team can secure a victory against another, reflecting a trend seen at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) where smaller countries have shown significant progress.

“Our group may not feature top countries, but it is very tricky. “The results after three games are surprising, demonstrating that smaller countries are advancing,” he added.