Bafana coach Broos attributes loss to missed penalty and Mali’s physicality after 0-2 defeat

* The performance of South Africa was good, and I think if we scored the penalty, we would have been good

* We lost a lot of balls and mostly because of the physical conditioning of Mali was better than us

Maravi Express

South Africa’s coach Hugo Broos has attributed Bafana Bafana’s Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Côte d’Ivoire 2023 opening loss to Mali to the missed penalty in the first half as well as the physicality of the opponents.


South Africa were humbled to a 0-2 defeat after a positive start in the first half that lacked the all-important finishing touch as Percy Tau troubled the Malians but blew the chance to give Bafana Bafana the lead.

He had forced a good stop from Djigui Diarra after racing through on goal in the 19th-minute but VAR awarded a spot-kick which Tau blazed over the bar.

Coach Broos, the 2017 tournament winner with Cameroon, said Tau’s missed penalty and the physicality that the Malians came with in the second half contributed to the loss.

Coach Broos

“The performance of South Africa was good, and I think if we scored the penalty, we would have been good,” he said. “They were more physical than the first half — this was the major difference.

“We lost a lot of balls and mostly because of the physical conditioning of Mali was better than us. So this is the difference and this is where Mali was able to change the game, not at the football playing level.

“The coach of Mali saw what he had to do, and they were stronger on duels in the second half and we couldn’t play our game anymore. We lost the ball where we shouldn’t have lost it but then again, I think the performance was good but just not good enough,” concluded a dejected Broos.

Up next for the South Africans is a Confederation of Southern African Football Associations (COSAFA) tie with their high in confidence neighbors, Namibia who secured a historic 1-0 victory over Tunisia in the earlier kick off.

Mali signalled their AFCON intent with the comfortable win through goals from and after Tau missed his spot-kick, the Eagles cranked up the pressure after the break, Amadou Haidara clipping the bar before Hamari Traore bundled in the opener on the hour mark.

Five minutes later, Sinayoko drilled a low shot through Williams’ legs to double Mali’s advantage and put them firmly in control.

South Africa rallied late on but Themba Zwane’s free-kick cannoned off the woodwork as they slipped to defeat.

The win sees Mali top Group E on goal difference from Namibia and on this evidence, a slick Mali side boasting quality like Yves Bissouma, Amadou Haidara and Koita have the tools to go far in Côte d’Ivoire.


Meanwhile, Tunisia’s Youssef Msakni achieved a football landmark on Tuesday by earning his 100th cap for the Carthage Eagles against Namibia but the midfielder’s milestone occasion ended in disappointment as minnows ruined the party with the shock 1-0 win.

Msakni, 33, became just the second Tunisian player to reach a century of international appearances and he feat moves him behind only former defender Radhi Jaidi (105 caps) on Tunisia’s all-time list.

Msakni also joined an elite band of African players to have played at eight AFCON tournaments, matching Ghana’s Andre Ayew but his achievement was soured as the Eagles failed to mark the occasion with victory, slipping to a dramatic late defeat.

Tunisia’s captain Youssef Msakni

Deon Hotto’s 89th-minute winner secured the tournament debutants a famous scalp in Group E. The Al Arabi playmaker is also his country’s third-highest scorer with 23 goals for the national side.

But even the talents of veteran Msakni could not inspire Tunisia to capitalise on their domination against the Namibian upstarts. Instead, a moment of magic from Hotto sentenced Msakni and company to a demoralizing opening loss.

The milestone man will now hope to lead Tunisia’s response when they face Mali in their second group game on Sunday.—Info from CAFonline