Hugo Broos: The pride outweighs the disappointment after AFCON defeat

Hugo Broos: The pride outweighs the disappointment after AFCON defeat

Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos says their 4-2 penalty shootout defeat to Nigeria in the 2023 African Cup of Nations semi-final is difficult to accept after an outstanding performance.

Bafana scored a late equaliser from the penalty spot through Teboho Mokoena to force the game to extra-time, before Grant Kekana was shown a straight red for a professional foul on Terem Moffi that required the assistance of the Video Assistant Referee.

Broos, who led Bafana to their first AFCON last-four appearance in 24 years, says losing in the dramatic shootout after they dominated the match is a hard pill to swallow. 

"Ok, that can happen in football – it's a big disappointment for everyone because we feel that we played a very good game, and not only today but a very good AFCON," said Broos.

"And I'm very, very proud of that, I'm proud of my players. The disappointment is here, but the pride is there [higher] – what they did and how they performed, not only today, I think you have to be proud as a coach.

"So, yes, it's a defeat, and as you saw, we played a very bad game against Cape Verde and won in penalties, and today we played a very good game against Nigeria and lose in penalties.

"That's also part of football, but I think we have to only think about the way we played this AFCON, and I know that everyone now knows South Africa as a good playing team, and that is the most important [achievement]."

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Bafana will now face the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the 3rd/4th play-off at Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium in Abidjan on Saturday, after The Leopards also lost 1-0 in their semi-final against hosts Côte d'Ivoire.

With the good run in this tournament and the results and performances over the past six months, Broos believes his team has shown they can match up to any team in Africa.

"As you know, this is also a big satisfaction that, even when we're not playing good, we win games against the 'small' countries," he added.

"We also won against Morocco two times, we played a fantastic game against Ivory Coast in October last year, and the performances here at AFCON have been good, or very good even – the way you saw us play today.

"That means we don't need to have any fear anymore if tomorrow we play against a big African team. We are good, and we have to believe that."

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