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The New Year has just started but all eyes and prayers are on Bafana Bafana

By Kabelo Mafiri

Hugo Broos, the Head Coach of Bafana Bafana. (

The Africa Cup of Nations finals will have Bafana Bafana participate in it after failing to qualify for the previous one. The tournament will take place in Ivory Coast from January 13 to February 11, 2024. Given that Springboks and Banyana Banyana both took home silverware from their respective competitions last year, a high standard has been set for Bafana Bafana. The two teams brought such pride to South Africa. Thus, Bafana Bafana began getting criticism for their lack of effectiveness in the tournaments they participate in, and advice on how to play and defend their country as the other teams do.

The Belgian tactician is no stranger to AFCON. He won it in 2017 with Cameroon before moving to South Africa to assist in reviving the country's flagging football industry. Since working with Bafana Bafana, Coach Broos has maintained an extremely excellent record. He has only lost three away games against France, Morocco, and Ghana. Additionally, he helped the team move up the FIFA global rankings, from spot 66 to spot 62 because of improved performance and results. 

Therefore, Broos’s impressive record has put him under pressure from South Africans as he is expected to do well. Although, some of the players he has chosen are inexperienced. They are inexperienced in such a way that players like Aubrey Modiba, Evidence Makgopa and Nyiko Mobbie will be playing for the first time in Africa’s biggest soccer tournament.

Bafana Bafana pictured celebrating a goal during their friendly game against Eswatini last year as part of preparations for the upcoming AFCON2023.  (

Percy Tau, the current African Interclub Player of the Year, is one of the team's key players to keep an eye on as he is expected to help the team advance. Therefore, it is undeniable that despite the negativity surrounding the Bafana Bafana team, they actually have big talents in their stride. Stars from Mamelodi Sundowns FC, including Themba Zwane, Tebogo Mokoena, Khuliso Mudau, and the incredible Ronwen Williams, who captained his club to victory in the African Super Cup 2023, are also anticipated to perform brilliantly at the tournament. They have had an excellent season thus far and have been putting on captivating performances for their club. 

In their opening match on the 16th of January 2024, Bafana Bafana will take on Mali. They will be hoping to get off to a solid start as they are in a very competitive group. Their group includes Tunisia, Mali, and Namibia, who are just as driven and hungry as Bafana Bafana to make it all the way to the finals. Although the disbelief the nation bestows upon the team, every South African will undoubtedly rally around them, cheering them on as they embark on a journey to uplift our spirits and instil hope in us amid all the challenges we face as a country. Challenges like, loadshedding, corruption and high unemployment rate. “Nkosi Sikelela iAfrica.”

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