Why Hugo Broos wants Bafana Bafana to play more games in ‘fantastic’ Bloemfontein

South Africa coach delighted by what he witnessed at Free State Stadium on Tuesday

Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos has lauded the fans in Bloemfontein for creating a great atmosphere that pushed his team to a 3-1 victory against Zimbabwe.

South Africa went ahead after just one minute through Iqraam Rayners at the Free State Stadium on Tuesday night but Tawanda Chirewa equalised for Zimbabwe a minute later.

However, the sold-out crowd at the 46,000-seater stadium kept pushing Bafana Bafana and the players responded well with substitute Thapelo Morena’s second half brace handing the home side all three points.

It is a victory that Broos feels would not have been possible had the crowd not been behind them, given how the Warriors made life difficult for his side, especially in the first half.

South Africa coach Hugo Broos and his technical bench at the Free State Stadium on June 11, 2024. Photo: Icon Sports

“I am happy having played here in the stadium with a fantastic crowd, you can see what a crowd can do. They are behind the players, they have difficult moments but when you have a crowd like this, you go over the limits and we saw the second half we got more and more confident,” Broos said after the match.

‘We have to think about coming to play more games in this stadium’

The veteran tactician also believes having players with roots from the region must have played a large part in the good reception and now wants Bafana Bafana to play more in Bloemfontein to experience the great atmosphere again.  

“[Mothobi] Mvala is from the region, [Teboho] Mokoena is from the region and Morena used to play here [at Bloemfontein Celtic]. This public is very grateful and it is something that makes me very happy,” added Broos.

“You saw also after the game, they wanted to see us back. They are really good supporters and I think for the future, we have to think about coming to play more games in this stadium because it was fantastic.

Bafana returned to Bloemfontein for the first time in 14 years

“In the three years I have been here, I never had an atmosphere like today [Tuesday] in this stadium. You can make good performances when you have a public like this.”

A sold-out Free State Stadium during South Africa vs Zimbabwe 2026 World Cup qualifier on June 11, 2024. Photo: Icon Sports

Bafana Bafana were making a return to Bloemfontein for the first time in 14 years, their last match at the Toyota Stadium being a 2-1 victory against France at the 2010 World Cup.

The city has been starved of top football action since the sale of Bloemfontein Celtic in 2021 and they responded to calls to fill the stadium in emphatic style with tickets for Tuesday’s match sold out. 

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Joel Oliver

Joel Oliver is a seasoned multimedia sports journalist with a rich background in covering diverse football stories and events in South Africa and beyond.

His extensive coverage spans subjects touching on the PSL, with a focus on the Big Three (Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs & Mamelodi Sundowns), Bafana Bafana and Banyana Banyana.