29 January 2024 – Coach Hugo Broos and midfielder Sphephelo Sithole faced a room full of journalists on Monday as interest in Bafana Bafana’s Africa Cup of Nations Round of 16 showdown against Morocco on Tuesday reached fever pitch in Côte d’Ivoire.
The South African senior men’s team have a highly anticipated date with the Moroccans on Tuesday and a huge media contingent descended on Stade Laurent Pokou, in San Pedro, to get better insight into the coach’s plans ahead of the crunch match.
“We are well prepared. Morocco are coming from a great World Cup run in Qatar and being the best in Africa, so we are aware of what we are up against,” Broos said. “We beat them in Johannesburg (in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at a vociferous FNB Stadium on 17 June 2023), and that gives us hope and confidence. But this is a different time and tournament, and some players are different too. So we cannot think for a minute that it will be the same, certainly not.”
Many of the inquiries from the room were on whether Khuliso Mudau and Mothobi Mvala will be fit to face the Moroccans. The two players suffered knocks during the goalless draw against a very physical Tunisia during the group stages last week. “I cannot answer that question, I’m afraid not right now at least. I will get a full medical report after training later on Monday and only then will I know for sure,” Broos said.
Sithole, whose confidence is brimming at the moment, said the team spirit and mentality remains very strong in the camp ahead of the match. “We know what we need to do, we know that tomorrow is a big game, we understand it all. We will bring our A-game as a team because our sights are set on the next round,” he said.
A lot will be at stake for the two sides, with injuries having taken their toll and could impact on the way they finally line up at Stade Laurent Pokou.
Broos will be leaning on the wealth of experience in the team, knowing that the skills and knowledge that have been acquired by his players while playing on the continent will count in their favour tomorrow. They will need this mentality to remain calm and composed to be able to execute their game plan.
The match in San Pedro is set for 10pm SAST.