12 June 2023 – The South African men’s senior national team have gathered in Pretoria ahead of their Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier against Morocco at FNB Stadium on Saturday (17 June 2023).
Coach Hugo Broos’ charges, who have already achieved qualification for the AFCON finals in Ivory Coast next year, are currently in camp at the University of Pretoria’s High Performance Centre (HPC) and the first day of camp started with mixed feelings as one of the youngest players, Cassius Mailula, turns 22 years old. But there was also deep sadness following the passing of former Bafana Bafana coach Clive Barker on Saturday (10 June 2023).
Captain Ronwen Williams reflected on the legacy of the 78-year-old Barker, who led Bafana Bafana to the Africa Cup of Nations title in 1996, and also spearheaded the country’s first appearance at the FIFA World Cup in France in 1998.
“We have reflected on the man he (Barker) was and the contribution he has made to South African football, and the impact he has had on the lives of players and their careers,” said Williams.
Turning to the mouthwatering clash against the World Cup semifinalists, Broos was optimistic about the plans he has in place as the countdown continues to Saturday’s showdown. The coach said that the mood in camp, the fitness of his players and the camaraderie within the set-up was of paramount importance ahead of a match that will get underway at 17h00.
“We have a great group of players who work well together and will give anything to win,” said the Belgian mentor. “We are only waiting for the international-based players to arrive in camp – they are Percy Tau, Njabulo Blom, Bongokuhle Hlongwane and Luke Le Roux. Everyone knows what is expected of them and while we respect Morocco, we need to focus on our game.’’
Williams urged South Africans to rally behind the team and show their support for Bafana Bafana on Saturday.
The Bafana Bafana v Morocco tickets cost R50 all round and they are being sold at all TicketPro outlets, including selected Total Energies garages, Sasol Garages, Caltex and Power Fashion.