President Cyril Ramaphosa says Bafana Bafana are going to win in their African Cup of Nations (Afcon) crucial match against Morocco, urging them to play their hearts out.
Hugo Broos’ side are set to face the Atlas Lions tonight, looking to secure a place in the quarter-finals of the tournament that has produced some shocks.
Video: Sports Ministry
Although Morocco are the favourites to win, this year’s tournament has shown that no team must be taken for granted.
Bafana Bafana reached the round of 16 coming from a 2-0 loss to Mali in their first game. They then came back in their second game by beating Namibia 4-0 in a spirited performance.
In their third match against Tunisia, Bafana Bafana were able to get a needed point to qualify for the next stage, when they drew 0-0.
In a tournament full of surprises in the Ivory Coast, which has already seen ‘football giants’ Ghana, Algeria, Tunisia, Senegal and Egypt go home early in the competition, anything is possible.
Bafana Bafana coach, Hugo Broos, is also upbeat about his team’s chances.
“We already beat Morocco a year ago and we can do it again. Anything is possible and we want to create another surprise in this competition. We’re confident, we believe in ourselves and in what we can do. I think we’ll have to go into this match with the same frame of mind we’ve had recently, but I want us to be at a very high level.”
Broos says they are well prepared for tonight’s do or die clash.
“Morocco are coming from a great World Cup run in Qatar and being the best in Africa, so we are aware of what we are up against. We beat them in Johannesburg, and that gives us hope and confidence.”
Morocco, who reached the semifinals of the last World Cup in Qatar, will also be looking to progress further in the tournament and will be playing to win.
Coach, Walid Regragui, in a media briefing ahead of the match said that they will not underestimate their opponent.
“It’s a knockout match. It’s a change of competition. We can’t afford to make any mistakes. We’ve done well so far, but we want to do better. We have a lot of respect for South Africa. They were the last team to beat us on the continent.”
Morocco will be without Sofiane Boufal after he was injured in training over the weekend and they could also be without key player, Hakim Ziyech.
“The decision for Ziyech will be made at the last minute or last second,” Regragui said.
The match will kick off at 10pm CAT.
Mali will play against Burkina Faso at 7pm.
Messages of support
Banyana Banyana coach, Desiree Ellis, and some South Africans have begun sending their well wishes to the team ahead of their encounter with Morocco.
— Banyana_Banyana (@Banyana_Banyana) January 30, 2024
Good Morning Pray for Morocco not Bafana Bafana💚 pic.twitter.com/dYRiQylg3R
— Hugo Boss 🇿🇦 (@_IamHarold) January 30, 2024
Best of luck to Bafana Bafana in tonight’s Africa Cup of Nations Round of 16 clash against Morocco 🇿🇦 pic.twitter.com/apOylKQ7en
— Stellenbosch FC (@StellenboschFC) January 30, 2024
Shout out to Ivory coast 👏 Bafana Bafana gonna have an easy way to reach the finals! We just have to deal with Morocco first. The Afcon trophy is coming home!! 💚🇿🇦#TotalEnergiesAFCON2023 #AFCON2023 pic.twitter.com/GOm9ffabQR
— No One Else But Me 🗨 (@Ndobe_Bibow) January 30, 2024
One nation, one team. Bafana Bafana of the masses!! pic.twitter.com/QD9igRuvRw
— A Dog That Bites (@SkepeMatsebane) January 30, 2024
We believe in Bafana Bafana. pic.twitter.com/JbExUMBFTS
— Believe in 012 (@tumeloditle) January 30, 2024
Written by: Nonhlanhla Harris