‘Beating a team like Morocco is special’, says Broos as Bafana eye Afcon glory
Bafana Bafana got their tactics right and the players applied them superbly, Morocco missed some chances and South Africa took theirs was how Bafana coach Hugo Broos summed up his side’s epic 2-0 Africa Cup of Nations last 16 shock of the Atlas Lions on Tuesday night.
South Africa’s brave performance was capped by goals by Evidence Makgopa (57th) and an excellent free-kick (95th) from man-of-the-match Teboho Mokoena, who produced a world-class performance, as they stunned the 2022 World Cup semi-finalists at Stade Laurent Pokou in San Pedro, Ivory Coast.
The Moroccans might raise issues about some of the virtual assistant referee (VAR) decisions that went against them, and stalwart right-back Achraf Hakimi missed a penalty in the 85th that could have surely sent the game to extra time.
But the South Africans, in effort and intensity, were full value for a famous victory.
“Ï don’t think I have to tell you that I am very happy today. We beat Morocco,” Broos said.
“And it is not only because we are in the quarterfinals, but beating a team like Morocco is something special.
“This is a very good team with very good players, but we did the right analysis, and today the tactics were the right ones.
“The first half was nearly not a game. I thought both teams were a little bit afraid of each other. The second half was more open, with a few chances for Morocco, but we scored. And that is always important, to score the first goal.
“After that, yes, we were a little bit lucky because Morocco started to use power play, with all the players in front and high balls and very hard duels, so they had a few chances then.
“But after the second goal the match was over and we are in the quarterfinals, and we are very, very, very happy.”
Bafana’s superb shape and a Mamelodi Sundowns back four of Khuliso Mudau, Mothobi Mvala, Grant Kekana and Maphosa Modiba, who largely contained the Moroccan attack, excellent midfield partnership of Sphephelo Sithole and Mokoena, Themba Zwane’s creativity and Makgopa’s running earned the victory
Runners Percy Tau and Thapelo Morena might have been more subdued but played their role in the monumental team effort, as did captain and goalkeeper Ronwen Williams.
Broos, a Nations Cup winner with a young Cameroon in 2017, said while he might have come up with the right gameplan, the praise should go to the players for their execution of it.
“I didn’t do it. It was the players who did it. You can only tell the players what they have to do.
“And that is what every coach hopes, that from what he tells the players they can do the right thing.
“The players did what we asked. They fought from the first minute, they played very disciplined. And we knew we would have four, five or six chances against this team tonight.
“But when we had the chances we had to use them. And we did. And that was very important tonight, that the few chances we had we could score.”
Bafana meet an impressive Cape Verde in Saturday’s (10pm) quarterfinal at Stade Charles Konan Banny in Yamoussoukro.
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