South Africa coach Hugo Broos has expressed confidence that his side can weather the storm when they face Nigeria in the semi-finals of the ongoing 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast on Wednesday.
Recall that Bruce’s side made it to the last four on Saturday following a thrilling 2-1 penalty shootout win over Cape Verde in their quarter-final clash at the Charles Konan Banny Stadium in Yamoussoukro on Saturday.
Goalkeeper Ronwen Williams was the hero, saving four spot-kicks in the shootout to send Bafana Bafana through after a goalless 120 minutes of football.
Since losing their first game of the tournament against Mali on January 16, South Africa made it out of Group E in second place and are yet to concede en route to the semi-finals.
Despite their impressive run, Bruce says his team will have to be different against the three-time champions.
“The semi-final match will be different against Nigeria, which has good players like Lookman. We will not lose focus. The players will be in good condition, so we need to rest and recover to start our preparation,” Bruce told CAF Online.
“Not many people in South Africa believed in this team, but we believed in it, and the players believed in themselves as well. Reaching the semi-finals is in itself a good thing for South African football.”
While Wednesday’s meeting will be a repeat of the AFCON 2000 semi-final which Nigeria won 2-0, the Eagles and Bafana have met on two other occasions at the tournament (2004 and 2019) with Nigeria winning all the encounters.