LaLiga star says Bafana Bafana is the team to watch

football09 May 2024 19:40
By:Peter Kanjere
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bafana bafana @ Getty images

Spanish LaLiga star Bertrand Traore says Bafana Bafana is the team to watch in the forthcoming international tournaments, following the team’s impressive showing at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals in Ivory Coast.

The winger for Burkina Faso said this in a virtual press conference from LaLiga’s Southern Africa office hosted for selected African reporters recently.

Traore said Bafana Bafana did exceptionally well to reach the Afcon semifinals before they lost 4-2 to Nigeria on post-match penalties, following a one-all draw in regulation time.

"For me, South Africa did very well. They were one of the best teams at the tournament and deserved to reach the semifinals," he said.

The Villareal FC star added that Hugo Broos's men showed plenty of potential, which could be key in the qualifiers for the next Afcon edition and the 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifiers for Africa.

"Seeing them at the last-four stage was a very big achievement. They need to keep on working hard. I think they will be a serious opponent in the next three years," the ex-Aston Villa man said.

Bafana Bafana should hope to better their bronze medal finish of the last Afcon edition when qualifiers for the 2025 competition resume next month.

In Ivory Coast, South Africa overcame a 2-0 loss to Mali in the opening game for the 2023 Afcon to thrash Namibia 4-0, hold Tunisia 0-0 then beat Morocco 2-0 to reach the quarterfinals. The 1996 Afcon champions went on to see off Cape Verde 2-1 via post-match penalties in the quarterfinals following a goalless stalemate in regulation time to make the last-four cut.

The South Africans eventually lost to Nigeria before winning a bronze medal after edging out the Democratic Republic of Congo 6-5 on post-match penalties.

Meanwhile, the draw for the 2025 Afcon first-round games is yet to take place after the conclusion of the preliminary round matches involving low-ranked teams.

Broos and his men return to the battlefield in June when they face Nigeria’s Super Eagles in the 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifiers in an opener for Group C which comprises Lesotho, Benin, Rwanda and Zimbabwe.