South Africa AFCON 2024 squad, fixtures and opponents

After missing out on the previous edition in Cameroon two years ago, Bafana Bafana will be making an appearance in Ivory Coast for AFCON 2024.

This will be South Africa's 11th AFCON appearance since their debut in 1996.

For clarity's sake, this year's competition is officially named AFCON 2023 since it was initially scheduled to take place last year but was postponed until January-February 2024.

South Africa AFCON 24 schedule – knockouts

Bafana advanced to the knockout phase after finishing as the runner-up in their group.

They clashed with 2022 FIFA World Cup semi-finalists Morocco in the Round of 16, winning by two unanswered goals.

Hugo Broos' men defeated Cape Verde in the quarter-final on penalties, booking a place in the semi-final of the Nations Cup for the first time in 24 years.

South Africa were dealt an injury blow after Thapelo Maseko was ruled out for the rest of the tournament after picking up a hamstring injury during the quarter-final win against Cape Verde.

South Africa will meet three-time AFCON champions Nigeria in the semis, the same opponents they faced the last time they reached the last four in 2000.

South Africa AFCON 2024 squad
Photo by Icon Sport

Here's Bafana Bafana's schedule in the knockout stages of AFCON 2024:

  • 30 January, 9pm: Morocco vs South Africa, Laurent Pokou Stadium, San Pédro – Round of 16.
  • 3 February, 9pm: South Africa vs Cape Verde, Charles Konan Banny Stadium, Yamoussoukro – quarter-final.
  • 07 February, 6 pm: Nigeria vs South Africa, Stade de la Paix, Bouaké – semi-final.

South Africa AFCON 2024 schedule – Group stage

The Hugo Broos-led side finds itself in Group E with Mali, Namibia, and Tunisia as opponents. Bafana Bafana will kick off their tournament against Mali on 16 January, then face Namibia five days later before playing their final group game against Tunisia on 21 January.

  • 16 January, 9pm: Mali – South Africa, Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium
  • 21 January, 9pm: South Africa – Namibia, Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium
  • 24 January, 6pm: South Africa – Tunisia, Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium

How did South Africa qualify for AFCON 2024?

During the qualifiers, South Africa placed second behind Morocco. South Africa won two games and, with one drawn game and lost one, accumulating seven points in the process.

  • Day 1: Morocco-South Africa (2-1)
  • Day 2: Cancelled
  • Day 3: South Africa-Liberia (2-2)
  • Day 4: Liberia-South Africa (1-2)
  • Day 5: South Africa-Morocco (2-1)
  • Day 6: Cancelled

South Africa's last 10 games before AFCON 2024

In their ten games, Bafana Bafana have won four, drawn five and lost one.

  • Rwanda-South Africa (2-0) – 2026 World Cup Qualifiers
  • South Africa-Benin (2-1) – 2026 World Cup Qualifiers
  • Ivory Coast-South Africa (1-1) – Friendly
  • South Africa-Eswatini (1-1) – Friendly
  • South Africa-DR Congo (1-0) – Friendly
  • South Africa-Namibia (0-0) – Friendly
  • South Africa-Morocco (2-1) – CAN 2023 Qualifiers
  • Liberia-South Africa (1-2) – CAN 2023 Qualifiers
  • South Africa-Liberia (2-2) – CAN 2023 Qualifiers
  • South Africa-Angola (1-1) – Friendly

Can South Africa cause a stir at AFCON 2024?

South Africa have won the Africa Cup of Nations once, and that was in 1996 and were runners-up two years later. A third-place finished followed in 2000, but since then, South Africa have only achieved quarter-final appearances in the 2002, 2013, and 2019 editions.

The basis of this South African team is made up of players of CAF Champions League heavyweights Mamelodi Sundowns. The Brazilians had 10 of their players named in Broos' list.

The expectation for South Africa may be lower than many teams in the tournament, which could be freeing in a way. Since missing out on the last AFCON, the Belgian coach has strengthened the depth of his squad with some excellent talent and they could very well be a fit that will help the team in Ivory Coast at AFCON 2024.

AFCON 2024
Photo by Icon sport

South Africa coach: Hugo Broos

Broos is a seasoned coach. The 71-year-old Belgian, a former international defender with the Red Devils (24 caps), embarked on his coaching career in 1988, working in Belgium, Greece, Turkey, Algeria, and even Kuwait, before taking the helm of the Indomitable Lions (2016-2017). In fact, he was in charge when Cameroon won AFCON in 2017.

He then briefly returned to Belgium (at KV Ostend in 2019) before assuming the role of head coach of Bafana Bafana in May 2021.

Although he didn't manage to qualify the South African team for the 2022 World Cup, the coach has achieved a commendable record since his arrival, with 11 victories, six draws, and two defeats. The qualifying phases for AFCON 2024 were quite successful.

It's worth noting that with a monthly salary of 50,000 euros, the septuagenarian ranks fifth among the highest-paid coaches in the tournament.

AFCON 2024
Photo by Icon sport

Player to watch: Percy Tau

Bafana Bafana will be counting on the ingenuity of Al-Ahly forward Percy Tau at AFCON 2023. The 29-year-old forward has already scored 14 goals in 38 appearances for South Africa since making his debut in 2017. In the ongoing season, he has scored six goals in 18 games for his Egyptian club across all competitions.

Tau is his nation’s biggest talent and everything seems to run through him for South Africa. Tau is the hub of activity for South Africa in attack: He controls passing lanes, puts a cork in opposing defences and organises the team with his distribution and work rate.

 The Al- Ahly man has a huge role to play in South Africa’s quest to make it out of a difficult group. Tau’s performances for Ahly have been a breath of fresh air, tinged with sunshine and rainbows.

And, he’s able to translate his easy-going mentality to the international stage, with his performances for Bafana Bafana as good a showcase of his talents as any. At the lowest points, it was his name that helped quell the tears. And now here he is, expected to restore Bafana Bafana to international glory.

Photo by Icon Sport
Photo by Icon Sport

South Africa final AFCON Squad for AFCON 2024

Broos has named his final 23-man squad for the tournament. Conspicuously missing from Broos’ final list is Burnley striker Lyle Foster, who was not selected at his club's request after he spent some time away from football.

Also absent is Kaizer Chiefs’ goalkeeper Bruce Bvuma and defender Given Msimang. Orlando Pirates’ winger Monnapule Saleng missed out due to limited game-time, while USA-based forward Bongokuhle Hlongwane was also left out.

The exclusion of Premier Soccer League joint top goal-scorer from last season, Khanysa Mayo, was also surprising, with coach Broos favouring Zakhele Lepasa and Evidence Makgopa from Orlando Pirates. Polokwane City attacker Oswin Appollis and Stellenbosch's Jayden Adams surprisingly make the cut, as Lebo Mothiba had already been ruled out due to injury.

Goalkeepers

Ronwen Williams, Veli Mothwa, and Ricardo Goss

Defenders

Sydney Mobbie, Grant Kekana, and Terence Mashego, Nkosinathi Sibisi, and Aubrey Modiba, Siyanda Xulu, Mothobi Mvala, Khuliso Mudau

Midfielders

Teboho Mokoena and Siphephelo Sithole, Jayden Adams, Thabang Monare, Thapelo Maseko, and Thapelo Morena

Forwards

Themba Zwane, Zakhele Lepasa, Oswin Appollis, Mihlali Mayambela, Percy Tau, and Evidence Makgopa.

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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.