Broos hoping for better support for Bafana at Moses Mabhida Stadium

14 November 2023 - 13:00
By Sazi Hadebe
Bafana Bafana players during their training session at Tuks High Performance Centre in Pretoria on Monday.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images Bafana Bafana players during their training session at Tuks High Performance Centre in Pretoria on Monday.

Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos is excited about playing Benin at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday as he believes the national team stands a good chance of drawing better support when they play away from Johannesburg.

The match against the 93rd-ranked Les Guépards (the Cheetahs) kicks off both teams' 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifying group C campaign. Bafana meet Rwanda in the 10,000-seat Stade Huye in Butare on Tuesday November 21. Both games are at 3pm South African time.

Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Lesotho complete 64th-ranked South Africa's group.

Other than the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier Bafana played against Morocco at FNB Stadium in June, their matches at the same venue or elsewhere in Johannesburg have been poorly attended. 

This has left Broos unimpressed as the Belgian believes Bafana have improved in recent months under his tutelage. 

South Africa qualified for the 2023 Afcon to be played in Ivory Coast in January and February. Broos believes improved support will make Bafana's job of qualifying for the 2026 World Cup easier and give his players the message that the country is behind them for the Nations Cup.

Bafana last qualified for the World Cup in 2002 and only featured in the 2010 event as hosts.

“For me it's not a problem where I play. If it's Cape Town, if it's Durban or Johannesburg it's OK. When it's a good stadium and a nice pitch, I'm happy,” Broos said as his team trained at Pretoria University's High Performance Centre this week.

“But I'm more happy when there's a crowd. That was not the case in all the games we played in Johannesburg, except the game against Morocco. For the rest we didn't play in packed stadiums.

“We played a few games in Mbombela and there were a few people, but it's far away from here and it's not easy to reach.

“But I'm happy with Durban and I hope the crowd will be there because we need them.

“Ask the players of [Kaizer] Chiefs how it was like to play for nobody [in last week's league match against Cape Town Spurs] at the [FNB] Stadium. We did it for 90% of our games at home. We played for nobody.”    

Broos was forced to bring Orlando Pirates striker Evidence Makgopa into his squad after French-based forward Lebo Mothiba withdrew injured. 

Bafana travel to Durban on Friday and fly to Rwanda on Sunday.