Bafana Bafana head coach Hugo Broos admits that he didn’t exactly expect to return to South Africa with a bronze medal and explained how the squad raised their level of performance at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.
Broos, 71, led Bafana to their first medal at the AFCON in 24 years as they beat DR Congo on penalties on Saturday evening before earning further plaudits with the Fair Play Award and captain Ronwen Williams with the Golden Glove.
The Belgian was cognizant that not many expected the side that failed to qualify for the previous edition was tipped to reach the podium in West Africa.
“It’s very difficult to find the words, I have to be honest also… I didn’t expect this,” Broos said reflecting on the third-place finish at AFCON at the team hotel on Monday morning.
“When the draw took place, I said ‘okay, we have a difficult group but it’s possible, we can go through, it’s possible’, but then you have Morocco… so normally you would be out.
“But I felt the confidence in the group and we beat them a few months before, so I said ‘yeah, yeah, it’s possible’, the guys knew also it was possible, then you win…
“I said after Morocco, ‘we can reach the final’, so for me it was a fantastic experience, some fantastic weeks with a fantastic group, I say always fantastic but it is fantastic – not only the guys who were playing but also the guys who were on the bench. There’s only one word: I had a fantastic experience and I’m very happy.”
Broos went on to state the motivation to silence critics after the uproar upon his 23-man squad announcement was a huge factor added to his desire to turn things around.
“As a human being there’s always certain pride, and when there’s no belief or critics, I think it’s a normal reaction to say ‘guys, I will show you the opposite’, but this is the main reason [for doing well], you just want to well,” he explained
“I came to South Africa with something in my mind and on the first day here I told you I couldn’t understand a country like this, you saw the results of the national team, there was something not normal.
“This is a country that needs to show better results than what we could show in the last ten years.”
Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos also commented that his boys worked very hard to get to this level of reaching the 3rd place of the Africa Cup Of Nations.