Broos blames slow Bafana start for Rwanda defeat

‘We were not ready for the kick and rush football of Rwanda,’ said the Bafana head coach after the game.

Hugo Broos refused to blame a heavily waterlogged pitch for his side’s shock 2-0 loss to Rwanda in a Group C 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifier at Stade Huye in Butare on Tuesday.

The Bafana head coach instead preferred to focus on a poor start to the game that saw his team go two goals down inside the first 30 minutes.

Rwanda had not scored a goal at home in over two years heading into this match, and had finished bottom of their Africa Cup of Nations qualifying group. But they made the most of the soggy conditions, a pre-match downpour making the artificial surface at the stadium even more difficult to play on.

“We lost the game in the first 20 to 25 minutes, we were not ready for the kick and rush football of Rwanda,” said Broos after the game.

“I told the players we have to be careful … and we gave them two presents.”

With the ball getting stuck in the surface and preventing Bafana from playing their usual brand of passing football, they were put under pressure by Rwanda and buckled, a mistake from Nkosinathi Sibisi letting Innocent Nshuti in for the first goal, while Khuliso Mudau dithered on the ball to let Gilbert Mushinga in for the second.

“We were not ready for a duel (for the first) and then with the second goal we had the ball and they scored (again).

“Then we changed something, we asked the boys to put them under a bit more pressure and Rwanda didn’t come up with anything except one shot. For the rest of the match they defended.”

While Broos held back on blaming the pitch for the defeat, he did describe it as “unbelievable” that such a surface was allowed to be used for a game of this stature.

“It is unbelievable that a qualifier for a World Cup is played on such a pitch, it is impossible, but ok, it is what it is,” added Broos.

“I think Caf and Fifa have to be stricter in the rules about where we play. You are talking about professional football, and qualifiers for the biggest tournament in professional football, a World Cup.

“Then you have to play on such a pitch.

“Second, it is not normal to arrive in a country and to still travel three hours by bus to reach your final destination. This pitch is not for professional football and you don’t make an opponent travel three hours from the airpor, but this is just a remark and has nothing to do with today’s defeat.”

The loss to Rwanda means Bafana are now second in Group C after two games played, a point behind surprise leaders Rwanda. Only the group winners will automatically qualify for the World Cup finals. Bafana’s next qualifier is in June away to group favourites Nigeria.

“It is only a defeat,” concluded Broos.

“There are still eight games to go, you only pay the bill in two years, so we will see.”