Bafana Bafana Hugo Broos - AFCON
Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos. Image Source (@SAFA/Twitter)

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What Bafana must change against Namibia at AFCON

Bafana face a serious counter-attacking threat in the shape of Namibia in Sunday’s AFCON clash. What changes should be made?

17-01-24 14:40
Bafana Bafana Hugo Broos - AFCON
Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos. Image Source (@SAFA/Twitter)


Bafana head coach, Hugo Broos will need to pay careful attention to the left-hand side of his defence. Aubrey Modiba was stationed at left-back and fellow Sundowns star Thapelo Maseko operated just ahead of him. South Africa’s Belgian boss is unlikely to make wholesale changes but one of them could come on that flank, with 21-year-old Maseko the likeliest to drop out although his recovery pace could be invaluable to snuff out the Namibian threat, but both he and Modiba’s places are in jeopardy. Centrally, Siyanda Xulu’s lack of speed was exposed and it’s not out of the question that he could be replaced by Nkosinathi Sibisi or Grant Kekana.

In attack, Evidence Makgopa could come out for the more unpredictable Mihlali Mayambela or the hard-working channel-runner Zakhele Lepasa.

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Namibia showed considerable menace on the counter-attack in their historic win over Tunisia, so Hugo Broos will need to plan carefully how he sets out his stall against the Brave Warriors. Deon Hotto and Peter Shalulile are huge transitional threats and Namibia boss Collin Benjamin won’t mind ceding possession to South Africa for long spells; they had just 39% of the ball against Tunisia but produced an xG of 1.76 and mustered 13 shots with six of those on target. This is a seriously efficient team.

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Namibia AFCON
Namibia score a historic AFCON win. Image: Leadership News


Both sides started the contest brightly as South Africa and Mali went end-to-end, frantically looking for spaces to exploit. In the 18th minute, Bafana had a penalty. Sikou Niakate fouled Evidence Makgopa in the box and Percy Tau blazed the resulting penalty over the bar. The Al Ahly man had an almost immediate opportunity to atone but the Malian ‘keeper easily parried his right-footed effort away for a corner after a superb through-ball from Sphephelo Sithole. Mali never looked back. Bafana generated an xG (expected goals) tally of 1.36, so they’ll be disappointed with the outcome. Could Broos be tempted to bring in an extra central midfielder? It might have worked against Mali’s outstanding trio, but having more of the ball might actually play into Namibia’s hands.

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AFCON 2023
The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) is scheduled to be the 34th edition of the biennial African tournament organised by CAF. Image: Sporting News