‘Nothing to lose’ against Super Eagles – Broos fires ahead Nigeria vs South Africa clash

Hugo Broos, the coach of South Africa, was satisfied with his team's performance in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2024) after they set up a clash with the Nigeria Super Eagles.

Reflecting on Bafana Bafana's journey in the Africa Cup of Nations, Broos acknowledged the team's impressive achievement of reaching the semi-finals for the first time since 2000.

Despite this success, Broos emphasised that the players remain driven and ambitious, with a determination to push themselves further.

 “The hunger is big to go all the way to the final,” he said

South Africa secured a victory over Cape Verde with a 2-1 win on penalties in the quarter-finals, following a goalless 120 minutes of play in the Ivorian capital, Yamoussoukro.

Goalkeeper and captain Ronwen Williams showcased his skill with an impressive four saves during the shootout, contributing significantly to the team's success.

Broos jokes ahead of Nigeria vs South Africa clash

Broos revealed the toll it took on him, both emotionally and physically. Despite the victory, Broos acknowledged the immense stress of the game, particularly during the nerve-wracking penalty shootout.

As the adrenaline subsided and the dust settled, Broos humorously remarked on the ageing effect of such high-pressure situations, joking that the game aged him by four years in just six hours.

“Let's say six hours ago I was 71, now I am 75. It was a very stressful game, certainly with penalties,” admitted Broos.

The Belgian trainer further acknowledged the heightened nerves among his players. He noted that the pressure was palpable, with the desire to secure a spot in the semi-finals adding to the tension.

Broos observed that the team's usual rhythm and style seemed disrupted during the match, contrasting with their impressive performance in the previous round, where they defeated Morocco 2-0 against all odds.

“Today I saw and felt that my players were really nervous. There was a lot of pressure because everyone wanted to qualify for the semi-finals, and we didn't play like in our previous matches,” gushed Broos, whose team had beaten Morocco 2-0 against the odds in the last 16.

Broos on Super Eagles game

After securing a gratifying triumph against Cape Verde, Bafana Bafana will be stepping into the AFCON semifinals for the first time since 2000, a year marked by their defeat to the Super Eagles with a score of 2-0.

Interestingly, history seems to repeat itself as they are set to face the Super Eagles once again in the semifinals of AFCON 2024.

The 71-year-old began, setting the tone for his reflections ahead of the clash with Nigeria.

“We have nothing to lose,” he affirmed, expressing a sense of liberation amidst the pressure of the semifinals.

“It is maybe bizarre for me to say that but for us our AFCON has already been a success. We are in the semi-finals. Nobody thought we would do that when we left South Africa to come here.”

Broos' words resonate with a mixture of surprise and pride, acknowledging the unexpected journey that has brought his team to this stage of the tournament.

“There will be less pressure on us, I am certain of that,” he continued, recognising the shift in expectations.

“That doesn't mean we don't want to play the final, certainly not.”

Despite acknowledging the success already achieved, Broos maintains his team's ambition and desire to continue their impressive run in the competition.

Nigeria vs South Africa Super Eagles
Photo by Icon Sport

Bafana Bafana defy the odds to set up Super Eagles clash

As anticipation builds for the upcoming clash with Nigeria, Broos, reflected on the journey that has brought his team to the semifinals of the AFCON tournament.

He addresses the doubters who questioned his team's capabilities, emphasising the unwavering belief within the squad. As he prepares his players for the crucial match ahead.

“I think there were many people in South Africa who didn't believe in the team, but we believed,” he stated proudly, highlighting the team's self-belief amidst scepticism.

“The players believed that it could happen, and it happened, and I think this is a very good thing for South African football,” he emphasised, underlining the significance of their achievement for the nation's footballing landscape.

“South African players are in the picture now, so that means there will be more interest for South African football,” Broos noted, recognising the impact of their success on the visibility and popularity of the sport in the country.

“I hope that those who saw the games are now convinced that the level of the PSL (Premier Soccer League) has to be higher. We have to work on that.

“I think it is the right moment to do that now, but again being in the semi-final is something very special for South African football.

“Let's hope now that maybe we can make a surprise again because now the hunger is big to play that final next Sunday.”

Broos compares South Africa with Cameroon at AFCON

As South Africa's journey in the AFCON finals continues to captivate fans and pundits alike, coach Broos reflected on the uncanny parallels between their current run and his past success with Cameroon.

With a hint of irony, Broos dismissed superstition but can't help but notice the striking similarities between the two campaigns.

Recalling his unexpected triumph with Cameroon seven years ago, Broos pointed to the scepticism surrounding both teams before they defied the odds.

As he looked ahead to the semifinals with South Africa, Broos remained cautiously optimistic, drawing upon the familiar trajectory of his past success as he hoped to guide his team to similar glory.

“But when you see the run we are having, and you see the run we had with Cameroon, it is almost exactly the same,” he noted, drawing attention to the striking similarities.

“It is kind of the same path,” Broos continued, emphasising the familiar trajectory of both campaigns.

“It was the case seven years ago with Cameroon. Nobody believed, nobody. And we won the AFCON.

“Let's hope we will do the same thing with South Africa,” he concluded optimistically, expressing his aspirations for continued success with his current team.”

South Africa face Nigeria in the Africa Cup of Nations semi-final on Wednesday, 7 February.

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Godfred Budu

Godfred Budu is a purpose-driven Ghanaian sports writer with a sharp eye for excellence. He has had stints with www.kickgh.com inkandkicks.com and ghanafans.com. He loves to talk and write about football on the African continent.