17 January 2024 – Bafana Bafana were beaten 0-2 by Mali in their opening match of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations at the Stade Amadou Gon Coulibaly in Korhogo, Cote d’Ivoire, on Tuesday night.
It was a highly anticipated Group E game that coach Hugo Broos will look back and wonder what might have been after several missed opportunities in both halves.
Bafana Bafana had a brilliant first half and could have gone into the lead in the 19th minute after they were awarded a penalty following an elbow on Evidence Makgopa inside the area that was picked up by VAR. But Percy Tau’s shot sailed over the bar, much to the relief of Mali and to the agony of the South Africans.
Captain and goalkeeper Ronwen Williams pulled off a breathtaking save at pointblank range to deny Lassine Sinayoko just before halftime. The two teams went into the break still tied at 0-0 and with a lot to play for.
Captain Hamari Traoré finally broke the deadlock when he scored the opening goal of the match to put Mali in the lead in the 60th minute. The West Africans increased their lead through Sinayoko in the 66th minute to put the game beyond the South Africans.
Bafana Bafana return to action on Sunday, 21 January 2024, when they face Namibia at the same Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium. The Namibians stunned Tunisia in another Group E match played earlier in the day after Deon Hotto scored late in the game to secure a famous victory.