Bafana Bafana finished 2021 ranked in a lowly 68th position in the latest FIFA world rankings, with a largely forgettable year inevitably remembered for the controversial 1-0 loss South Africa suffered against Ghana, which stole headlines worldwide.
Needing only to avoid defeat to advance to the next round of 2022 Soccer World Cup qualifying, South Africa were sunk by a 33rd-minute penalty by Ghana skipper Andre Ayew, but it was a highly controversial decision that saw SAFA lodge a formal complaint, asking FIFA to investigate alleged referee bias and match manipulation.
However, despite a severe backlash from SAFA, their complaints did not find favour after it was ruled that the Group G fixture would not be replayed, while it also led to Hugo Broos’ first defeat in charge of the team and yet another failed campaign to qualify for a World Cup.
“This is now the past,” he said, referring to failing to qualify for the World Cup in an interview with Sport24,
“We can’t change it, and now we have to focus on something new, and that is the qualifiers for Afcon 2023.”
Broos enjoyed success at the Africa Cup of Nations tournament as head coach of Cameroon in 2017, but he faces a far greater challenge with South Africa.
The Bafana coach will meet with PSL coaches this month
All his focus, as Broos prepares to return to South Africa after a brief break, is now to ensure South Africa negotiate a successful qualification campaign next time around.
“The plan is, first, there will be no excuses; we have to qualify for Afcon 2023. No excuses. This will be my responsibility,” Broos stated.
“We are rebuilding a team. We came very close (to advancing to the next round of the World Cup qualifiers).
“One goal killed us (against Ghana). Now, for Afcon 2023, there will be no excuses. I don’t have any excuses anymore.
“We have to focus everything on getting to Afcon next year in June/July, taking place in Cote d’Ivoire. It is also important for the development and experience of the team.”
Broos has overseen six matches at the helm of Bafana, recording four victories, one draw and only suffering defeat once.