South Africa's Bafana Bafana will be traveling to the Ivory Coast for the upcoming AFCON 2023 tournament next week.
The national team have been drawn alongside Namibia, Tunisia and Mali in group E where the Hugo Broos tutored side will be looking to qualify from one of the toughest group pairings this campaign.
South Africa last qualified for the AFCON tournament back in 2019 where they made it past the group stage but were eventually knocked out in the quarterfinals.
The team will be based in Korhogo, Ivory Coast for their three group stage skirmishes which will all take place at the same venue, the world-class Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium.
Bafana Bafana fixtures at AFCON
- Mali vs Bafana Bafana
- Bafana Bafana vs Namibia
- Bafana Bafana vs Tunisia
Bafana Bafana AFCON schedule
- South Africa will get their campaign underway on Tuesday, 16 January 2024 when they first face Mali. The action will unfold at the Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium at exactly 22:00 SAST.
- South Africa will then be back in action five days later when they take on southern neighbours Namibia in their second group game on Sunday, 21 January 2024. The match will get underway at the Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium at 22:00 SAST.
- Bafana Bafana final group E match at the Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium will be against the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia in what will be the most important game of the group. Kick-off time this time is 19:00 SAST.
Hugo Broos' take on Bafana Bafana AFCON group stage
South Africa are in a group that appears both tricky and difficult at the same time. The group includes past AFCON winners Tunisia, a hard to predict Mali side, and potential banana skin in well-known neighbours Namibia.
Shortly after announcing his 23-man squad that excluded Burnley forward Lyle Foster late last year, Broos spoke about the team's AFCON group stage campaign where he stated passing the group stage is an objective.
“If we don’t pass the group stages, we will not be happy,” – Bafana coach Broos said as reported by TimesLive.
“Passing the group stages has to be our first goal, but it is the most difficult thing to do in the tournament. You are playing against three opponents who are 100% motivated. They’re 100% physically and mentally in order and they also want to pass the group stages.
“In a tournament everything is important. But let’s focus from the start on the group stages and try to qualify Bafana to the next round.”
“I have the experience with Cameroon six years ago that this was the most difficult thing in the tournament and this is because everyone can win against everyone. Namibia can beat Tunisia, or us, and we can beat Tunisia. You never know in group stages, so let’s say we have to pass the group stages.”
Broos added anything can happen in the knockout stages where they can meet any team.
“From there it depends on who you are playing against in the knockout stages; you can play against Morocco or Senegal. Even with Cameroon six years ago, we played the quarterfinal match against Senegal and we won on penalties.
Bafana Bafana will line up against Lesotho in a preparatory friendly match on 10 January, before jetting off to Ivory Coast for the AFCON tournament.
This article was most recently revised and updated 2 months ago