South Africa coach Hugo Broos has remained upbeat the team will surprise many when the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament kicks off in Ivory Coast on January 13.
Bafana Bafana are currently camped in Kempton Park, Johannesburg, as they prepare for the tournament where they have been pooled alongside Tunisia, Mali, and Namibia. “I am happy that all the players are present with three (Jaden Adams, Oswin Appollis, and Mihlali Mayambela) joining us in Cape Town, and we will then have a full squad. I’m confident in my team, the upbeat spirit among them and the big smiles presented on arrival in camp is encouraging,” said Broos as the team started training on Friday.
“If this is anything to go by, it is the start of what is going to be a successful campaign. But we have hard work ahead of us, there is no doubt about that.”
He continued: “If we do not go past the group stages, we will not be happy, and that is for sure. I think that has to be the first goal. You know, going past the group stages is one of the most difficult things to do in the tournament. It is like that because you are playing against three opponents that are 100 percent motivated, and they also want to go past the group stage.”
Bafana Bafana will be based in Stellenbosch from January 5 to 9. They will travel back to Johannesburg on January 10 to play a friendly match against Lesotho behind closed doors at the Lucas Moripe Stadium. They will then head to Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, on January 11 and finally settle at their base camp in Korhogo on January 12 ahead of the start of the tournament on the following day.
They will face Mali in their opening fixture at Korhogo on January 16.