Bafana Bafana have failed to qualify for the next stage of the 2022 Fifa World Cup, losing 1-0 in Ghana to a disputed first-half penalty.
Coach Hugo Broos reflects on the match in Cape Coast and what went wrong for his side, who will now look to qualify for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast.
Your immediate reaction to the result?
“I congratulate Ghana for qualification for the next round but I also have to congratulate my team also because we played a very difficult game in very difficult circumstances. We played against an opponent who was very aggressive and the referee allowed them to play like that, so it was very difficult for us to get a good result here today but, again, when you see what we did in the last three months, I’m very proud about my team.
How disappointed are you about the result?
“First of all, sure I’m disappointed today because we were very close. And as you see that the elimination was one goal difference … one goal difference. So that is a second disappointment. We’ve done very good work the last three months. If you asked anybody in South Africa before the qualifiers, how we would do, nobody predicted that we would be top of the group going into the last game. From that perspective, I think we did a very good job. And there is a team again in South Africa. And that’s very important. And again, I’m not happy, really not happy with the way the referee handled the game today. He let Ghana play in an aggressive way. I’ve nothing against that, but it has to be for both sides. And that was not the case today.
How do you think Ghana will do in the playoffs?
“They’re a very good team. We knew that. It’s a team that regularly plays in the World Cups. So that means that it’s one of the best teams of Africa. They have good players, players who play in Europe with very good experience. We will see what the draw is and who they will play against in the next round. But yes, they will have a big chance to again be at the World Cup next year.
Did you come to play for a draw?
“Look, we came here to try to play a good game, to play a draw or maybe win. When you are so close, and you’re in the position we were in, we tried to do it. But again, we played against a very strong team, and the team with 10 times more experience than we have, at the moment. We are a new team, so you cannot blame South Africa not to be qualified for the next round. Not at all, but you can be sure that there is a team again in South Africa, and that will try to qualify for the next Africa Cup of Nations finals (in Ivory Coast in 2023).
Was it the 1-0 win over Zimbabwe last Thursday that cost you, when you should have scored more goals?
“It was the only game that we didn’t play at our level. And it’s a pity, because I think that if we played like we did in the first four group games, then we should have won with maybe two or three goals … and then we would have been through to the next round. So, this was true but it happened and we don’t know the reason for that. Also the players. Okay, it was not a good game and we were not on our normal level. And that’s a pity, because in that game, we could have scored maybe two or three times and then it was impossible for Ghana to eliminate us in the qualifying.
After beating Zimbabwe last week, you said that Ghana had to beat South Africa by three goals, which was not the case, it was only one. Did you not understand the rules?
“For me, the most important thing was the position in the table and the points tally. So I went to the press conference five minutes after the game and I didn’t have time to look at what was the situation and what we would have to do against Ghana. So I just make a count but that was the mistake. I know it. But yes, I didn’t have the time to look at the situation clearly. And I corrected it afterwards. I knew what the situation like it was today.”
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What did you make of the penalty decision for Ghana?
“It was very difficult to see from the bench. It was a corner, I think, and I don’t know what happened there. I don’t know. I couldn’t see it. Whether something happened or not I don’t know. But I saw my players were surprised that the referee awarded the penalty.”
So what went wrong today?
“Not much. Ghana had a penalty and scored. That was it, 1-0, finished.”