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History on several fronts beckons for Hugo Broos and Bafana Bafana

History on several fronts beckons for Hugo Broos and Bafana Bafana

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Cape Town – After South Africa’s failure to qualify for the 2022 World Cup coach Hugo Broos became the object of scorn for Bafana Bafana fans, but he will bank some brownie points if his team defeats Sierra Leone tomorrow.

The record books show that after four meetings, Bafana have never beaten the lowly West Africans, nor have they scored a goal during that time.

Sierra Leone’s national team, nicknamed “Leone Stars”, won the first clash 1-0 in 2008. Thereafter the three remaining clashes all ended 0-0.

The worst result was in October 2011 when SA needed to win, but misread the rules to qualify for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations. Instead, the team played for and achieved a draw at home in Nelspruit.

After the match, Bafana set off on a celebration lap only to learn later, to great embarrassment, that they did not qualify because a win was required.

After the match, then Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane admitted he had made a costly mistake in the qualification calculations and told the reporters: “I feel like I have failed.”

This let-down marked the beginning of the end for Mosimane as the national team coach.

Tomorrow’s stage for the friendly at FNB Stadium is set for Broos and Bafana to make history on at least three fronts. Firstly, should Bafana win, Broos will become the first national team coach to spearhead a win over the West Africans, who are ranked at 113 in the world. Bafana are 68th on the rankings.

Two other historic milestones beckon. A Bafana goal will be the first against Sierra Leone, and the scorer will also enter the history books as the first player to score against the them.

Of course, in the event of the opening score coming from an own goal, a South African will be denied that honour. Should a SA player score afterwards it will still rank as a historic feat.

In the likely event of a win for the home team, it will also be SA’s first-ever over Sierra Leone.

Sierra Leone are coached by the Manchester-born John Keister, a former Sierra Leone player. His playing career lasted for just over two decades in England, playing mostly for League Two teams.

He was capped seven times for Sierra Leone and appointed coach in 2017. He resigned in 2019 and he was reappointed in August 2020.

In March, he guided Sierra Leone to back-to-back wins over Liberia and Congo. Both matches were played in Turkey, three days apart. They achieved wins despite both opposition teams having better world rankings.

The team will be significantly strengthened by the inclusion of striker Augustine “Augi” Williams who was injured during the matches in Turkey. He plies his trade in the US with Charleston Battery in the USL Championship (second division) and is the team’s regular No 9.

He has been in a rich vein of form in the USL Championship and he will no doubt be singled out for attention at FNB Stadium tomorrow (3pm kick-off).


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