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AFCON 2023: Bafana Bafana are back with an African champion on the bench!

AFCON 2023: Bafana Bafana are back with an African champion on the bench!

They'll be in Côte d'Ivoire. After missing out on the last edition, Bafana Bafana are back at the AFCON. Coached by Hugo Broos, surprise African champion in 2017 with Cameroon, South Africa will be an opponent to be wary of. All the more so as they have been riding a wave of momentum in recent months, with Percy Tau in their ranks, the best player in African interclubs at the CAF Awards.

Absent from the last edition in Cameroon, South Africa is back at the AFCON. Côte d'Ivoire will be their 11th appearance. Quarter-finalists in 2019 in Egypt, Bafana Bafana return to the competition with full confidence. In a tough Group E featuring Mali and Tunisia, South Africa could create a sensation. The South Africans have what it takes to do just that, with a prestigious victory over Morocco (2-1) in the group phase of the AFCON 2023 qualifiers. They even outclassed the 2022 World Cup semi-finalists. They then held Côte d'Ivoire to a 1-1 draw in a friendly. However, Broos' men were stunned by Rwanda (2-0) in the qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup.


Hugo Broos, a winner's breed

Hugo Broos took over the reins of Bafana Bafana in 2021, and has managed to turn things around and achieve his goal of qualifying South Africa for the CAF Africa Cup of Nations. A competition in which he excelled with Cameroon, the first African national team he coached. The Belgian coach took the Indomitable Lions to the top of the continent in 2017 and he wants to repeat the feat with the Rainbow Nation. Broos' team will undoubtedly rely on local players. He has already published a list of 50 players with well-known names from the South African league.

Broos and his team will be preparing in South Africa. The 1996 African champions will gather for a camp on January 4, 2024, then head to Stellenbosch for a training camp to be held in the Western Cape town until January 9.Bafana Bafana will then play a friendly match against Lesotho behind closed doors at Atteridgeville's Lucas Moripe Stadium before flying to Côte d'Ivoire on January 11, 2024.

Percy Tau, the spearhead of Bafana Bafana

To create a sensation in Côte d'Ivoire, Broos will be able to count on Percy Tau, one of the South African team's attacking weapons. The South African striker shines on the continent with his club, Al Ahly.The 29-year-old is even the spearhead of the Cairo-based team with whom he won the CAF Champions League. His performances also earned him the award for Best African Inter-Club Player at the CAF Awards 2023. A pure product of South African soccer, the former Brighton player made a name for himself with Mamelodi Sundowns before joining Al Ahly. Thanks to his performances with the Egyptian club, Tau is once again being courted in Europe. At the African Cup of Nations, he will be showing all his talent to attract even more interest.

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