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Broos Astounded By Pitch In Rwanda Defeat

Bafana Bafana head coach Hugo Broos has questioned how their 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifier was played on a pitch like that of the Huye Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.

South Africa were aiming to make it two wins from two to open their Group C campaign but came unstuck by the home side in Butare with a 2-0 defeat.

In the opening 45 minutes, the game was blighted by the waterlogged artificial surface as South Africa struggled to make any significant attempts at goal.

And the issues of travelling, brought up by Nigeria head coach Jose Peseiro and Alex Iwobi at the same venue last week was revisited by the Belgian.

“When you see the first 20 minutes it’s unbelievable that a qualifier of a World Cup is played on such a pitch,” Broos said after the game.

“It’s impossible. But okay, it is what it is and I think FIFA has to be stricter on the rules where you going to play, we are talking about professional football, we’re talking about qualifiers of the biggest tournament [in the world], then you play on such a pitch.

“It’s not normal to arrive in a country and then travel three hours with a bus before you’re at the final destination – I will not say it’s the reason we lost the game, not at all but I think those things have to change, we’re in 2023.

“We’re talking about professional football and this pitch is not professional, and you don’t let an opponent travel three hours from an airport for their destination, this is only my remark, nothing to do with the defeat of today.”

Having stated before leaving South Africa that the absence of Lebo Mothiba and Lyle Foster wouldn’t be used an excuse, the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations winning coach owed up to the defeat stating his side weren’t mentally ready for the challenge.

“I think we lost the game in the first 25 minutes, we were not ready for the kick and rush football of Rwanda,” Broos explianed.

“I told the players that they have to be careful of that in the first 20-25 minutes, we gave them two presents, two goals, players were ready to go into duels. The second goal we had the ball and they took it and scored.

“After that, we changed something, we asked the boys to put more pressure and then you saw the second half and Rwanda didn’t come near the 16 meters except for one shot and the rest they defended.

“That’s how it should have been from the first minute. Our start was bad and we paid cash with two goals. You lose with XI, you win with XI – we didn’t have answers.”

Rwanda are top of Group C with four points from their opening two games after a 0-0 draw with Zimbabwe last week to open their qualifying campaign.

Lorenz Kohler
Lorenz Kohler
Lorenz Köhler is an award-winning South African football journalist. Having cut his teeth in the industry working at Kick-Off Magazine, he is now iDiski Times' senior digital content writer. He specialises in breaking top African football stories and transfers with a major focus on the 'big-three' Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates and CAF inter-club and international competitions. In 2021 he was listed amongst the top-five journalists under 30 in Print Media for the AIPS Awards.