Jonty Mark

By Jonty Mark

Football Editor

Broos on getting to 2026 World Cup – It’s very important

'You could see what happened after our third place at the AFCON, everyone was 'wow, look at South Africa',' said the Bafana head coach.

Bafana Bafana head coach Hugo Broos has stressed the importance of making it to the 2026 Fifa World Cup, as he prepares his side to face Nigeria in a Group C qualifier on Friday at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo.

South Africa have had some issues with their chartered flight to Uyo, a delayed departure meaning they had to have an unplanned overnight stay in Port Harcourt. Broos will hope his side are unaffected by travel fatigue when they take the field to face group favourites the Super Eagles.

Having made a stuttering start to their qualifying campaign, drawing their opening two matches against Lesotho and Zimbabwe, and having changed coaches even though they reached the final of the Africa Cup of Nations (Jose Peseiro has been replaced by Super Eagles legend Finidi George), Nigeria will be desperate to get their own efforts to make it to the 2026 World Cup off the ground in Uyo.

Bafana started their World Cup qualifying campaign with a home win over Benin but then slipped to a disappointing defeat in Rwanda, meaning they could also do with at least a point in Uyo.

Broos’ side can certainly go into the game with some confidence after taking Nigeria all the way to a penalty shoot out in the AFCON semifinals.

Only the winners of Group C are guaranteed a place at the finals in the USA, Canada and Mexico in 2026.

‘We believe in it’

“Being qualified for big tournaments like the AFCON and the World Cup is very important for the country,” said Broos this week.

“You could see what happened after our third place at the AFCON, everyone was ‘wow, look at South Africa’. It is important for South African football and also for South African players, suddenly there is interest in them.

“So it is very important that after a good performance in the AFCON, we also qualify for the World Cup, if you don’t you go back to where you were six or seven months ago. We believe in it, we know we are able to do it (qualify).

“Nigeria were finalists at the AFCON, they have players in the best (club) competitions in Europe, but on the other side we also saw what we can do against them at the AFCON,” added Broos.

“With a bit of luck I think we would have been in the final, and not Nigeria. I think we were the better team in the semifinal, we could have won, so we don’t have to be afraid.”

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