Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos says it is important for the national team to win their opening two FIFA World Cup qualifying matches, later this month.
Bafana’s campaign begins against Benin at home in Durban on the 18th of this month and plays Rwanda away, three days later.
Broos announced a 23-man squad for the qualifiers, earlier today.
🔔 𝔹𝔸𝔽𝔸ℕ𝔸 𝔹𝔸𝔽𝔸ℕ𝔸 𝕊ℚ𝕌𝔸𝔻 𝔸ℕℕ𝕆𝕌ℕℂ𝔼𝕄𝔼ℕ𝕋 🔔
— SABC Sport (@SABC_Sport) November 10, 2023
Bafana Bafana has not qualified for the FIFA World Cup since 2002. They will be looking to qualify for the 2026 showpiece in Mexico, Canada, and the USA, but are in a tricky group along with nemesis Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Benin, and Rwanda.
Broos is confident of victories against Benin and Rwanda.
“It’s a tricky group and therefore very important that in those first two games in November, we win both games and then we put our opponents under pressure and we are not behind because when we are behind, you are forced to win the next few games. So, we have to avoid that.”
But Broos anticipates tricky matches against teams, ranking below Bafana on the CAF rankings.
“It’s possible we have a home game against Benin, it will not be easy and then you have the tough travel to Rwanda they don’t play in Kigali, they play in Butari it’s three hours from Kigali airport to Butari, so it will be very tough physically.”
Broos made four changes to the 23-man squad that did duty in two friendly international matches against Eswatini and Ivory Coast.
Bradley Cross, Jayden Adams, Thapelo Maseko and Oswin Appollis are coming in for Paseka Mako, Njabulo Blom, Lyle Foster, and Monnapule Saleng.
The biggest omission is that of England-based striker Foster from Burnley.
“We were a little surprised that Lyle did not play in the last three games, so we took contact with the club, coach, and medical team. He has a serious medical problem. The team asked us not to give further comments and to respect his privacy and his family, so I hope he recovers as soon as possible because he can be a very important player for us.”
The match against Benin takes place at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on 18 November. Reporting by Vincent Sitsula