Bafana in historic AFCON quarterfinal: Can They Break the 24-Year Jinx?

Home » Bafana in historic AFCON quarterfinal: Can They Break the 24-Year Jinx?

All eyes are on Bafana Bafana as they stand on the cusp of history, facing Cape Verde in the AFCON quarterfinals on Saturday. The match is set for the Stade Charles Konan Banny in Yamassoukro, Ivory Coast’s political capital. 

A victory would propel them into the semifinals, a feat they haven’t achieved in 24 years.

The weight of expectation is high, with numerous failed attempts over the past two decades. After capturing the 1996 title and podium finishes in 1998 and 2000, Bafana’s performance has dipped, with only two quarterfinal appearances and several group-stage exits. The ghosts of the 2000 semifinal loss to Nigeria loom large, especially if they face them again in the next round.

Despite past struggles, this Bafana squad has shown promise. Teboho Mokoena’s heroics against Morocco and Ronwen Williams’ clean sheets highlight their potential. However, Cape Verde poses a unique challenge.

Former Mozambique coach Luís Filipe Gonçalves emphasises their winning mentality, organised approach, and key players like Bebé, Garry Rodrigues, and Gilson Tavares. Their past victories over South Africa and strong group stage performance showcase their capabilities.

Bafana Bafana celebrating the goal against Benin AFCON


“Bebé is a player with a lot of technical quality, shooting ability and who knows the terrain he is on, playing in front of the attack or drifting towards the side, although he shows some difficulty when defending. 

“Wingers Garry Rodrigues and Ryan Mendes are very experienced but also very creative and strong in one-on-one. Gilson Tavares, a 22-year-old striker who plays for Benfica B in Portugal and is very fast and an excellent finisher. 

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“Olympiacos’ Jovane Cabral is a very explosive and quick striker with a strong shot. But the team is worth the collective.” 

Bafana coach Hugo Broos has instilled a fighting spirit, evident in their defensive solidity and tactical flexibility. He highlights the players’ motivation to “do something special” and enter the “good history books.” Cape Verde coach Pedro ‘Bubista’ Brito downplays past victories, focusing on the present challenge and promising a difficult match for both sides.

Saturday’s clash promises to be a tense and thrilling encounter, filled with historical significance and the hope of breaking the 24-year jinx. Will Bafana Bafana rise to the occasion and create a new chapter in their AFCON story?

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