Bafana coach Broos wary of Algeria on the rebound from Afcon

South Africa Coach Hugo Broos is thrown in the air by his players after winning the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations 3rd place match between South Africa and DR Congo at Stade Felix Houphouet Boigny on February 10, 2024 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

Hugo Broos is wary of an Algeria on the rebound from their disappointing Africa Cup of Nations and eager to impress new coach Vladimir Petković when they host Bafana Bafana at what should be a packed Stade Nelson Mandela on Tuesday night.

The Fennec Foxes bombed out in the first round at the Nations Cup in Ivory Coast, which prompted highly rated coach Djamel Belmadi, who steered Algeria to the 2019 title, to step down.

The 60-year-old Bosnian-born Swiss coach Petković began his tenure with a 3-2 win against 86th-rankied Bolivia on Friday at Algiers’ 40,000-seat Mandela Stadium in the Fifa Series matches being played in the North African country.

Bafana, in contrast, seemed to be recovering from a Nations Cup hangover, having racked up a best finish in 24 years of third place in Ivory Coast last month, as they drew 1-1 against 164th-ranked Andorra in Annaba on Thursday.

There were other factors in the result. Broos’ team missed chances, and were a largely experimental combination who did not know each other well as he used the game against the minnows to give a chance to fresh faces.

The coach also mostly resisted playing the seven-player Mamelodi Sundowns contingent who formed the core of his Nations Cup starting line-up, who arrived late due to a 2-0 Nedbank Cup win against Maritzburg United on Sunday.

The coach said he will field his strongest line-up against 43rd-ranked Algeria.
“It will certainly be a difficult game because we all know Algeria have a lot of quality,” Broos said.

“It was a disillusion and disappointment for all Algerians to see this team go out in the group stages at Afcon.

“I saw the game they played against Bolivia on Friday and you see that the motivation of the players is already different because they have a new coach. They want to show him they deserve to be in that team and to play.

“Only for that the motivation will be very big. They play at home. The stadium was nearly full [against Bolivia]. The supporters will be there [against Bafana].

“So for us it will be a good test after Afcon. We will try to get a good result but for me the performance is more important than the result, even though we need victories to keep our ranking.

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“It will be more important [to get the results] in two months when we play against Nigeria and Zimbabwe. For those games there is no excuse any more and we have to get a good result.”

Bafana, ranked 58th in the world and 10th in Africa after their Afcon exploits, meet Nigeria away and Zimbabwe at home in crucial 2026 World Cup group C qualifiers in June.

With the injuries to Lebo Mothiba and Nations Cup striker Evidence Makgopa, and uncertainty over the national team status of Lyle Foster, Broos said he will give Stellenbosch FC’s 28-year-old Iqraam Rayners a chance to impress against Algeria.

The Sundowns contingent of Ronwen Williams, Teboho Mokoena, Thapelo Morena, Terrence Mashego, Aubrey Modiba, Grant Kekana and Themba Zwane are sure to be heavily represented against Algeria.

Petković will also be looking to balance experimenting with earning confidence-boosting results in this month’s matches.

He has plenty of overseas-based experience in his squad, including veteran Qatar-based former Porto forward Yacine Brahimi, 34, who started against Bolivia.

Defenders Ramy Bensebaini (Borussia Dortmund), Rayan Aït-Nouri (Wolverhampton Wanderers) and midfielders Ismaël Bennacer (AC Milan), Houssem Aouar (Roma) and Ramiz Zerrouki (Feyenoord), plus a host of French-based players are among the 28 foreign-based stars in Petković's squad.

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