Wednesday Mar 29, 2023. 13:00
Bafana Bafana head coach Hugo Broos expressed his delight at qualifying for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations with a game to spare after beating Liberia 2-1 in Monrovia on Tuesday evening.
Broos’ side managed to hold onto their lead on this occasion after Zakhele Lepasa opened the scoring on 19 minutes before Mihlali Mayambela secured the win in the 53rd minute.
The Lone Stars had briefly drawn level through William Jebor on 35 minutes but there would be no dramatic fightback from Ansumana Keita’s team as South Africa booked their passage to the showpiece in Ivory Coast.
Broos was pleased to clinch qualification ahead of their final Group K encounter against Morocco, which he can now approach without pressure after suffering a 2-0 defeat in Rabat on matchday 1.
“I’m very happy that we’ve qualified because if it was a draw we are playing in June and Liberia v Morocco is in September and with this programme anything can happen,” the Belgian said after the match.
“It could be in June that Morocco is coming to SA with a good team and in September they already start with their preparations for AFCON and they have a team with less quality.
“So for us now it is a very good friendly game; even though it is a qualifier result, it is no longer important but we will try to prepare the team very well and be ready in January for AFCON in Ivory Coast.”
Commenting on the result, he added: “It is difficult to express my feelings right now. I feel enormous happiness, there are 100 feelings going through my body at the moment.
“It was a very tough game. The style of Liberia is power play, long balls to the front, headers and powerful duels. Therefore we changed some players and brought those who are powerful like Innocent Maela and Sphephelo Sithole.
“I think it was good to do that. We scored the first goal but it was a bit unlucky that we conceded a goal from outside the 16m area.
“When we scored the second goal, Liberia didn’t look at anything anymore, they just dropped the ball in the 18-area and hoped it fell on their feet. And when you see both games I think we deserved it.”
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