Sunday Jun 18, 2023. 15:00
Bafana Bafana head coach Hugo Broos has hailed the progress made by his team after they claimed a famous 2-1 win over Morocco at the FNB Stadium on Saturday.
The Atlas Lions, who are ranked No. 1 in Africa, were expected to roll over South Africa in their Group K qualifier, having beaten them 2-1 on matchday 1 in Rabat a year ago.
However, the hosts took a surprise lead in the fifth minute when Percy Tau’s cross slipped through the grasp of goalkeeper Munir Mohamedi and they went on to dominate proceedings in Johannesburg.
Zakhele Lepasa doubled their advantage early in the second half with a tap-in from close range after Mihlali Mayambela’s initial shot had been saved, although Hakim Ziyech halved the deficit with a well-taken goal on the hour mark.
Broos was delighted to sign off their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign on a high as Bafana Bafana overtook the 2022 World Cup semi-finalists into top spot.
“I don’t have to tell you that I am very happy today – not only because we won the game, I think we deserved to win the game with the chances we had. But I am happier for the performance,” the Belgian said in the post-match press conference.
“I said before the game the result is not important, but I would like to see a good performance and progression we made in the last few months.
“I think you would agree that you saw a team that made enormous progress in the last few months. We played against a very good team. We were never dominated.
“On the contrary, we sometimes dominated. We had three or four good chances to score. If I remember, there were only one or two chances for Morocco (to score).
“I am happy that I went on to give confidence to this group of players. I believe in them even though some people didn’t because [they thought] I made some bad choices, and I didn’t understand the South African culture.
“But you see, you don’t build the team in one day – you need time. And in that time, defeats can be very useful. So, we had defeats, and we learned a lot from them.”
Morocco trail South Africa by one point and have a chance to reclaim top spot in the group when they face Liberia in their final game in September.