South Africa coach Hugo Broos has said their third place game against DR Congo “will largely depend on which team can recover mentally” from the painful failure to reach the finals of 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
The clash for the bronze medal is expected to test the teams’ mental strength after devastating semifinal losses. Broos emphasized needing to rebound psychologically following South Africa’s dramatic penalty shootout defeat to Nigeria.
Following heartbreaking losses in the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) semifinals, South Africa and DR Congo now shift focus to the tournament’s third place match on Saturday. It will test the mental resolve of both defeated sides, according to Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos.
“We delivered an outstanding performance against Nigeria, reaffirming our status as a formidable team,” Broos stated in reference to South Africa’s semifinal defeat on penalties to the Super Eagles. However, picking up the pieces from a deep tournament run ended so abruptly will be no easy task.
As Broos noted ahead of facing fellow semifinal unfortunates DR Congo, “The upcoming game holds a special significance. It will largely depend on which team can recover mentally, as both sides experienced the difficulty of losing under such circumstances.”
After exceeding expectations in Cameroon at the 2021 AFCON, Broos and his mentally hardened squad now have one last opportunity to secure bronze medal consolidation.
But with DR Congo also lamenting what might have been, it may come down to which set of players can better compartmentalize their anguish in the battle for third place.