Bafana coach Broos 'was close to quitting' after France thrashing

12 February 2024 - 18:09 By Mahlatse Mphahlele in Abidjan
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Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos after receiving his bronze medal from Confederation of African Football president Patrice Motsepe following the Africa Cup of Nations final between Nigeria and Ivory Coast at Stade Olympique Alassane Ouattara in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on Sunday.
Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos after receiving his bronze medal from Confederation of African Football president Patrice Motsepe following the Africa Cup of Nations final between Nigeria and Ivory Coast at Stade Olympique Alassane Ouattara in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on Sunday.
Image: Reuters/Luc Gnago

As he basked in the unexpected glory of Bafana Bafana's third place finish at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon), coach Hugo Broos revealed he nearly quit the national team in 2022.

When Bafana were thrashed 5-0 by France in a friendly in Lens in March 2022, the criticism from the public pushed Broos to the brink of leaving the national team.

Speaking in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, as he reflected on Bafana's bronze medal earned by a fighting run to the semifinals and win on penalties over Democratic Republic of the Congo in Saturday's playoff, Broos said he stayed on because he believed South Africa can do better.

“I thought about it [quitting] because after the game against Morocco away [a 2-1 Afcon qualifying defeat in Rabat in July 2022] I went home for five weeks and spoke to my former assistant coach in Belgium.

“We spoke about what we were going to do, but I didn't want to quit.

“There was something that said to me, 'go now when everything is negative and there is nothing good,' but there was [also] a voice that said, 'go on.'

“The voice said, 'believe in what you believe in because it will happen,' and it happened, but I was close to quitting.”

Broos said he wanted to make a difference to South African football.

“I came to South Africa with something in my mind, but from the beginning I couldn't understand why, in a country such as this, there was something that was not normal with the results of the national team.

“This is a country that has to show better results than what they showed over the last 10 years.

“I thought, and I was sure, that there was potential in South Africa, but I didn't know much about South African football, and I needed time.

“But once you start and see that it is possible you come to South Africa to play Afcon and qualify for the World Cup and we were close [to reaching the 2022 World Cup].

“We had to play another game in World Cup qualifiers [when he was thinking of leaving, against Ghana away], but all was possible and that gave the energy to go on.

“But after France and Morocco, I was thinking about quitting because the criticism was too much.

“What people said was too much, but I have always been a winner and I wanted to leave South Africa with something.

"[And then] suddenly everything falls in the right place, you start winning, qualify for Afcon, the players start to believe.

“You win against Morocco in the last group game [of the qualifiers, at FNB Stadium in June this year] and suddenly there is a belief that maybe we can do something.

“My relationship with the players is good, their relation with me is very good, and this is the basis of good results.”


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