Jonty Mark

By Jonty Mark

Football Editor

Williams believes Bafana can spring another AFCON surprise

No one is giving us a chance to beat them (Morocco), we can take the lessons from 2019," said the Bafana captain.

Bafana Bafana captain Ronwen Williams can see echoes of 2019 in Bafana Bafana’s last 16 Africa Cup of Nations showdown with Morocco on Tuesday evening.

Morocco, World Cup semifinalists and the highest-ranked team on the continent, will be overwhelming favourites for the game at the Laurent Pokou Stadium, but then that was also the case when Bafana took on hosts Egypt at the same stage in 2019.

Williams is one of three members of Hugo Broos’ current Bafana squad that was there in Cairo when a Thembinkosi Lorch goal gave Stuart Baxter’s South Africa a stunning win against the host nation.

“We just believed in our structure,” said Williams on that game.

“We worked so hard on our structure and being a team. If you are all individuals against a wonderful team, you are going to suffer. We were such a team from the first minute to last, even the substitutes did amazing work.

“It is similar now, no one is giving us a chance to beat them (Morocco), we can take the lessons from 2019, to be a team from the first minute to last and to play the football we know.”

‘A different ball game’

Bafana have also beaten Morocco as recently as last June, in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at FNB Stadium. That was a dead-rubber, with both teams already qualified for the finals, but South African can still take heart from that victory.

“It is good we played each other a few months ago, and it is positive we won the game, but I am sure they (Morocco) will go out all guns blazing (on Tuesday) and it will be a different ball game,” said Williams.

“By that time we had both already qualified, now there is a huge prize at stake, a chance to go into the last eight. But we are ready and up for the challenge and believe it is possible (to beat them).”

Bafana could yet go into the Morocco game with a fully fit squad, with the only serious injury doubt right back Khuliso Mudau, who limped off at half time in the goalless draw with Tunisia.

“When I saw him (Khuliso) after the game trying to walk I had many doubts that he would be ready,” said Broos.

“But at breakfast the day after (Monday) he was walking nearly normally because of the good treatment he has been getting. This (Friday) morning I didn’t see too many problems. It is just walking, but it means the injury is progressing in a good way. I am optimistic that on Tuesday Khuliso will be available.”  

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