South Africa’s national football coach Hugo Broos is anticipating the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations Cote d’Ivoire 2023 with optimism following the draw.
The event, held in Côte d’Ivoire on Thursday, has placed Bafana Bafana in Group E, alongside Tunisia, Mali, and Namibia.
Their last Afcon appearance was in 2019 when they were eliminated by Nigeria in the quarter-finals.
However, Coach Hugo Broos exudes confidence that this time, they can progress beyond the group stages.
Broos reflects on the draw, stating, “Obviously I am not unhappy when you see the teams in our group.”
The outcome has also been met with approval among South African football enthusiasts who consider it reasonable, given the team’s avoidance of some traditional football giants.
He goes on to express his preference for facing Tunisia and Mali rather than Senegal or Ivory Coast, stating, “I think in Mali and Tunisia we have big teams, but I prefer to have Tunisia and Mali.”
Broos is undaunted by the challenge, as he believes South Africa can perform at their best and advance to the group stages.
He also remains unfazed by current disruptions in the team’s preparations due to injuries, emphasizing that there are still three months to go until the tournament begins.
During the draw, Bafana Bafana found themselves in Pot Three, a position that usually results in being grouped with two formidable teams.
Broos accepts this reality, commenting, “When you are in Pot Three, you don’t have to hope much because there are always two big teams in your group.”
The Bafana Bafana trainer acknowledges Tunisia’s status as a significant team, though slightly below the ranks of Morocco, Senegal, or Côte d’Ivoire.
He also acknowledges Mali’s strength, even if they are not considered giants at the moment.
Broos concludes his reflections on a positive note, saying, “I am happy with the draw because it could have been worse.”
The draw took place in Abidjan on Thursday, three months before the continent’s showpiece event gets underway on 13 January until 11 February 2024.
Six venues across Ivory Coast will host matches, including two stadia in Abidjan along with newly constructed venues in Bouake, Korhogo, San Pedro and Yamoussoukro.
The top two in each of the six groups will progress along with the best four third-placed teams.
The final will take place at Abidjan’s 65,000 capacity Alassane Ouattara Stadium on 11 February as the new African champions are crowned.
In light of this draw, Bafana Bafana approaches the Afcon competition with a sense of optimism and determination to make their mark.