In the wake of their remarkable journey through the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), South Africa’s football scene has undergone a seismic shift. They have captured the hearts of the nation and redefined the expectations for the sport.
Coach Hugo Broos provided insightful reflections on the challenges and triumphs of the tournament. He guided Bafana Bafana to emerge as a force to be reckoned with.
Despite falling short of the final, their spirited performance reignited national pride and optimism for the future of football in a country where the sport has long played second fiddle to rugby and cricket.
Bafana Bafana exceeded expectations by reaching the semi-final stage of AFCON 2024. Although they didn’t make it to the final, their performance restored national pride after years of football being labeled “the least favorite child”.
“(We’re) not in the final. It’s hard to accept that because we played a very good game,” Coach Broos remarked after the semi-final clash against Nigeria, which ended in SA’s loss in penalties.
As South Africa prepares to face the Democratic Republic of Congo in the battle for third place, the nation finds itself on the cusp of a historic achievement. SA is poised to leverage this success as a springboard towards greater glory, including the pursuit of qualification for the upcoming 2026 World Cup.
Coming home with the bronze medal will be an ideal stepping stone for South Africa. They look to build for the future and qualify for the 2026 World Cup, which will be taking place in America.
The upcoming World Cup qualifier for South Africa will be against Nigeria. It promises to be an intriguing matchup following their AFCON clash, marking another chapter in their rivalry, with significant stakes on the line.
Currently, South Africa sits in second place, one point behind Rwanda, and takes on Nigeria, who sit in third place with two points. Although there is still a long way to go, South Africa will look to carry their form from the AFCON into the World Cup qualifiers.