Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos says their famous win over Ghana has given them ‘enormous confidence’ heading to their back-to-back qualifiers against Ethiopia in October.
JOHANNESBURG – BAFANA Bafana coach Hugo Broos says their famous win over Ghana in their second game of the 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifiers this week has given them “enormous confidence” heading to their back-to-back qualifiers against Ethiopia next month.
Five months ago, the Black Stars played out a goalless draw with Bafana in the penultimate round of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers at the FNB Stadium in Soweto.
On Monday night, the West Africans returned to Soccer City for the World Cup qualifiers.
Ghana were high on confidence, having beaten Ethiopia in their opening game to sit at the summit of Group G.
South Africa, meanwhile, endured a disappointing opening game after snatching a point against Zimbabwe.
But the new-look and relatively youthful Bafana held their own, defeating Ghana 1-0 thanks to a late strike by Bongokuhle Hlongwane.
That result established Broos’ targets of “getting four points in our first two matches” as Bafana kept alive their chances of qualifying for their first World Cup since 2010 … although there are still four matches to play in the qualifiers leading to Qatar.
Bafana will face Ethiopia in back-to-back qualifying matches in October knowing that maximum points will drag them closer to a top finish in their group – a feat that could see them reach the knockout stage of the qualifiers.
“When you are in the qualifiers for Afcon or the World Cup, it is very important that you win your home games. Every point you lose in your home game is a point you have to get back outside. This is always more difficult,” Broos said after the Ghana game.
“If you want to finish first in the group, then you have to win outside. Otherwise, it’s not possible.
“We now have two games against Ethiopia, and if we win those two, then we will be very close (to finishing top of the group). This game gives us enormous confidence.”
Bafana’s victory over Ghana was not only one for the collection, but it also brought a sense of belief that the team can be rebuilt while winning.
Upon taking over the reins as Bafana’s coach, Broos had asked the nation to give youngsters a chance. Hlongwane is one of the players who grabbed the opportunity with both hands, following his stand-out performances in the qualifiers.
But Broos, though, was also pleased with Ethan Brooks’ work-rate in the engine room against the Ghanaians.
“I will give young players a chance. I said that from the first day I arrived. It is up to them to take the chance. Take Ethan Brooks for example, he had a very good game … He took his chance. Over the next few months, more young players will get a chance,” he said.
Bafana’s new dawn appears to have been embraced by everyone.
The new captain and goalkeeper Ronwen Williams has kept two clean sheets in successive matches in the qualifiers, while vice-captain Percy Tau is also leading from the front.
After Hlongwane’s goal, the subbed Tau raced to the touchline to join the celebrations and was seen barking instructions to his teammates, telling them not to bottle the lead.
In the end, the players heeded the message and came away with the win.