‘Liberia must be the weakest in our group’ – Bafana coach reacts to AFCON draw
Morocco are the best team, while Liberia might be the weakest in Bafana Bafana’s 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying group.
That’s the toll of Bafana head coach Hugo Broos, following the draw for the route to the continental championships in Ivory Coast next year.
South Africa faced Morocco, Zimbabwe and Liberia in Group K in Tuesday’s draw in Johannesburg.
If we look at this group, I think Morocco is the best team, [while] Zimbabwe, our neighbor, are a very tough team [and] Liberia must be the weakest team in our group.
The Belgian, however, admitted he had no knowledge of Liberia and also warned that it would be ‘dangerous’ to underestimate them.
“It is clear that Morocco are the best team in our group. They were at CAN in January and were eliminated by Egypt. It’s a good team and some players played in Belgium, like [Selim] Amalla, [Tarik] Tisoudali and [Ryan] Mmaee. So I know this team very well. I think if we want to be first in our group, we have to beat Morocco.
On the other side, we played against Zimbabwe for the qualification for the World Cup. So we know them very well. We played them twice last year.
“They’re a tough team, but they’re the team we have to beat. We are better than a few months ago and I think we can beat them twice, it will be very good for us.
The Bafana beat the Zimbabwe Warriors 1-0 after a goalless draw in their last encounter in the second round of the Qatar qualifiers in which South Africa failed to qualify at the final hurdle against Ghana.
Broos promised to do thorough homework on Liberia.
The Liberians were the scapegoats for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers and only beat the Central African Republic.
They also lost two of their recent friendlies against Benin (4-0) and Sierra Leone (1-0) in the Fifa international window last month.
It was the same week the Bafana lost 5-0 to France after South Africa drew a goalless draw against Guinea on Broos’ side’s European tour.
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“We will watch their [Liberia] last game to see how good they are… Liberia is a team I really don’t know.
Regarding the selection of the squad for the qualifiers which will start in June, Broos said that Bafana’s technical team will monitor local and foreign-based players over the coming weeks, with a likelihood of further call-ups. .
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe, along with Kenya, have been included in the draw, despite the two nations’ recent temporary ban by Fifa due to their governments’ interference in football affairs.
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Both will be dropped from their groups if their suspensions are not lifted by the time qualifying begins in June.
The group winners and runners-up will qualify for the 24-nation continental championships in Côte d’Ivoire.
Senegal is the defending champion.
AFCON 2023 qualifying group draw at a glance
Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe or Mauritius
Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Togo, Eswatini
Cameroon, Kenya, Namibia, Burundi
Egypt, Guinea, Malawi, Ethiopia
Ghana, Madagascar, Angola, Central African Republic
Algeria, Uganda, Niger, Tanzania
Mali, Congo Brazzaville, Gambia, South Sudan
Ivory Coast, Zambia, Comoros, Lesotho
Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Mauritania, Sudan
Tunisia, Equatorial Guinea, Libya, Botswana
Morocco, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Liberia
Senegal, Benin, Mozambique, Rwanda