Aubrey Modiba on being vilified at home but celebrated outside

Aubrey Modiba on being vilified at home but celebrated outside

Bafana Bafana utility player Aubrey Modiba says it’s encouraging that they have been getting praised at this 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament at a time when they felt unappreciated at home.

Speaking to SABC Sport after Bafana’s 4-2 loss on penalties in the AFCON semifinal against Nigeria, Modiba says the praises from coaches, players, and opposition officials, talk to the good work they have put in at this tournament. But still, with all that they have achieved, the players have to read some disparaging comments on social media about the team.

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 ''It's funny that people outside of South Africa believe in us, but back home we don't get the same support - which is something we are used to now. People notice us from around the world, because they watch the games. I believe something good is coming out of this team,'' said Modiba.

After putting on a show last weekend, saving four penalties against Cape Verde to send Bafana Bafana to their first semifinal appearance in 24 years at AFCON, captain and number one goalkeeper Ronwen Williams battled to save a single penalty against Nigeria. Modiba reveals that Williams got injured during extra time but still carried on representing the country with pride.

''We all know what Ronwen can do, but he dislocated his shoulder toward the end of the game. Credit to Nigeria, I think they studied us very well. However we still believe in Ronwen, he is a very good goalkeeper,'' added Modiba.

Despite the disappointment of not making the final, Modiba believes that this current Bafana Bafana team can still do something special in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, where they also have Nigeria in their group.

''Very heartbreaking, very sad - you can see the mood in the team. But we're still proud  of what we managed to achieve, we were hoping to win the Afcon but it didn't happen.''

''Right now everyone believes in this team, players and the technical team we are  confident. We're looking forward to facing Nigeria in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers,  we do believe we can beat them irrespective of who is playing. We’ve been together for a long time and I believe in all of us,'' he concluded.

 Coming to this tournament, the Bafana Bafana defense was seen as the weak link, and that was mainly due to a solid centre-back pairing. But when head coach Hugo Broos decided to try out the Sundowns duo of Mothobi Mvala and Grant Kekana, they went on to keep four clean sheets together. But Modiba is not surprised by the defense’s showing in this tournament.