Hugo Broos Bafana Bafana

Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos has named his final 23-player squad for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations to take place in the Ivory Coast. Photo: X @ BafanaBafana

Hugo Broos: Bafana weren’t ready for Rwanda’s kick-and-rush

Bafana coach Hugo Broos has made a candid admission after his side lost 2-0 to Rwanda in a FIFA World Cup qualifier on Tuesday.

Hugo Broos Bafana Bafana

Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos has named his final 23-player squad for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations to take place in the Ivory Coast. Photo: X @ BafanaBafana

Bafana coach Hugo Broos has admitted that his players were not ready for Rwanda’s kick-and-rush football brand. Broos said this in a post-match interview after the 2026 FIFA World Cup African qualifier.  He was responding to questions from reporters after Bafana lost 2-0 to Rwanda’s Amavubi in the Group C qualifying match. The South African watched a video recording of the press briefing after the match played on a greasy Huye Stadium in Rwanda on November 21 2023.

What Broos said on Rwanda’s playing style

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The hosts won the game courtesy of first-half goals from Innocent Ntshuti and Gilbert Mushita. Broos attributed the early goals to the visitors’ sloppy start to the match. “We lost the game in the first 20 minutes. In the first 20 to 25 minutes, we were not ready for the kick-and-rush football of Rwanda,” he said. “I even told the players that they had to be careful with that. In the first 20 to 25 minutes, we gave two presents—two goals. We were not ready to go into duels. [For] the second goal, we had the ball. We did not take it and they scored again.”

ALSO READ VIDEO: Mudau error leaves Bafana Bafana reeling in Rwanda

Broos on why Bafana didn’t improve even after changes

Broos said he tweaked his tactics in the second-half to try and salvage something from the match. However, it was not to be. Bafana wasted a chance to go top of the group. Rwanda lead the pack with four points from two games, after starting the qualifiers with a goalless draw against visiting Zimbabwe last week. South Africa started the qualifying race with a home 2-1 win over Benin last week.

Should South Africa have played long balls?

The Belgian tactician insisted that it was impossible to change Bafana’s short-passing game to suit the soggy pitch. It rained some 30 minutes before kick-off thereby making the pitch soggy. “You know, we don’t have those players to play that football. That is all. [If] we had asked Rwanda to play like South Africa, I don’t think they could deliver.  The coach chooses what is the best for a team. I think your coach had a good tactic today because he won,” the AFCON-winning coach insisted.

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Broos also slammed the condition of the pitch and the fact that Bafana travelled for three hours after arrival in Rwanda to reach their ultimate venue town. He, however, stressed that it was not an excuse for the defeat.

Did pitch condition contribute to Bafana’s loss?

“It is unbelievable that a qualifier for a World Cup is played on such a pitch. It is impossible, but okay it is what it is. I think that Caf and Fifa have to be strict in the rules in terms of where you play.  [Furthermore], I do not think it is normal that when you arrive, you have to travel for three hours to the final destination of a match,” the coach explained.

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“I will not say that this is the reason we lost the game. Not at all but I think those things have to change because we are talking about [year] 2023 and we are talking about professional football.” Bafana still have a chance to qualify for the 2026 World Cup finals, which America and Canada will co-host. There are eight games to go between now and November 2025 when the qualifiers will end.