Bafana Bafana head coach Hugo Broos says Mali’s physical strength was their biggest downfall and difference in the second half as they collapsed to a 2-0 defeat in their opening 2023 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) game, played at the Amadou Gon Coulibaly stadium in Korhogo, Côte d’Ivoire last night.
After a spirited and dominant first-half performance, which also saw them missing a penalty through vice-captain Percy Tau, it all changed in the second half when the Eagles of Mali scored two goals. Broos says the West African’s physical strength overpowered them.
“What I said a few minutes ago, I think the way we played the first half was very good. There were good combinations, there was depth in our game. We had chances then we missed a penalty and I think the coach of Mali saw what they had to do,” Broos said.
“They were stronger in the second half, we couldn’t make our game anymore and that was because of the power of Mali. So, we get two goals, and with the second goal we lose the ball in the place where we were not supposed to lose it and that makes the second goal and then the game is finished. Again, I think the performance was good but not good enough.”
When asked by the Malian media what he meant about the issue not matching up to their physical strength, Broos went further to explain South African football does not have the profile of players that countries like Mali have.
He says this is the advantage West African nations have over Bafana Bafana, as he didn’t appear to have solutions to the questions The Eagles asked tactically in the second half. “The first and the second half, Mali was physically more strong that was the difference. We lost many balls because the physical condition of Mali was better than ours. They were stronger in duels, that was the difference. That was how Mali was able to turn things around not football ability and we missed a penalty,” Broos added.
“I don’t integrate players in training, I just choose players. South Africa does not have the type of players, there’s a lot of power in the Malian team, they have a lot of power, it’s not South African strength. It’s the power of West Africans, Senegal, Cameroon, Ghana and Mali. We dominated the first half, you saw it and Eric [Chelle] told his players to be more physical and that changed the game, Broos concluded.
(story credit: SABC Sport)