Following his side’s 2-1 victory over Liberia in Morovia on Tuesday, Broos reminded journalists of his promise ‘to be killed if South Africa failed to qualify for the 2023 AFCON’.
Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos can breath a huge sigh relief after South Africa qualified for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, but was back with another pledge nine months before the tournament finals to be held in Ivory Coast.
The cocky Belgian returned with an even bigger promise, saying he should now be ‘killed’ if the team doesn’t make it past the group stages of the 24-team tournament in Abidjan.
“I said that people should kill me if we do not go to the AFCON and now that we have made it, they should kill me if we do not go through the group phases of the tournament,” Broos said.
"So, we did it now, we can only progress in the next ten months with opponents we can learn something from and can help us get ready for AFCON.
South Africa has failed to reach the knockout round of Africa’s premier competition on four occasions in 2002,2004,2006 2008 and recently 2015.
The 1996 African champions return to the competition after failing to qualify for the 2021 edition held in Cameroon, but Broos believes that AFCON qualification should be a norm.
“This is a country that normally should be every time at AFCON and I didn't understand why they didn't go the last years,” he argued.
"So, it was very important (that we qualify),” he said, adding; “We have a young team and international games are important to have international experience and also going to the biggest tournament of Africa.”
Broos, who was overtaken by emotion as he saw his team throw away a two goal lead against Liberia at home last week, said he was proud of how the team handled the game, surviving a last minute siege from Liberia.
"It was a very tough game we knew it, the way Liberia plays it's power play, not combination. I think we put the right players on the right place," Broos stated.
"And I'm very proud the way they did it. They fought for it, I saw 90 minutes of perseverance, I mean, we scored two times. I think it was difficult, but I think we deserve it.
"We knew, like I said it's power play how they play, from behind, the long ball and then they fight for it and I needed the guys who fight also,” he continued.
South Africa had to hold on for dear life in the last few minutes of the game with two goal-line clearances in the last five minutes, Liberia threatening to pull another great comeback.
Zakhele Lepasa had given the South Africans a 19th minute lead, when he raced to a Thapelo Morena dropped pass behind the defence before slotting low past the keeper.
However, the hard fighting Liberians drew level 10 minutes to halftime through skipper William Jebor, whose long range effort had enough power behind it to beat keeper Ronwen Williams.
In the second half, Bafana Bafana tidied up their act and they got back into the lead nine minutes after the restart when Mihlali Mayambela slotted home from close range, reacting fastest to a spill from the keeper.
Bafana Bafana will face Morocco at home in June this year in their final Group K game. The Atlas Lions claimed a 2-1 win over SA at home in their previous Group K match in June last year.