Broos wants Bafana to take advantage of Nigeria slip

‘We have to grab it with both hands and win that game,’ he said of the game against Benin

Nigeria’s 1-1 draw at home to unfancied Lesotho in their opening game of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers could be a shot in the arm South Africa needed to take control of Group C.

Bafana Bafana open their campaign against Benin at Moses Mabhida Stadium looking to start on a positive note and go top of the standings after Rwanda were also held to a goalless draw by Zimbabwe on Wednesday.

Bafana coach Hugo Broos is gunning for all three points to set a tone for the rest of the qualifiers against a Benin side that is ranked 93rd by FIFA.

“I’ve said that a good start in the qualifiers is very important,” Broos told the media upon the team’s arrival in Durban on Friday.

“If you are a little bit lucky, you can put the pressure already on your opponents with a victory and I think this is a big opportunity.

“We have to grab it with both hands and win that game. It will be a totally different mindset that we will go to Rwanda with if we don’t lose points but it’s up to us and again I’m confident because I know what this team can do.

“It will be very important that we firstly start the game on a good mindset. Secondly, that we achieve right level and have good mentality from the beginning.”

Along with the Super Eagles of Nigeria who are seen as Bafana’s main threat to their world cup aspirations, the group also consists of Zimbabwe, Rwanda and Lesotho. 

“When the draw was made, I said this was not the worst group but it was a tricky group,” Broos added.

“And the results over the last few days shows that I was right. The draw between Nigeria and Lesotho was a surprise so therefore winning at home is very important.

“If you don’t win at home then you have to chase the points away and we know that it is very difficult in Africa.”

CAF have drawn nations into nine groups of six teams in these qualifiers. The winner of each group will directly secure their ticket to the world cup that will jointly be hosted by USA, Canada and Mexico, while the four best group runners-up will enter a play-off system.