2026 WCQ: Our road ordeal is behind us but Super Eagles are under pressure to beat says Bafana Coach

2026 WCQ: Our road ordeal is behind us but Super Eagles are under pressure to beat says Bafana Coach

Bafana Bafana are eager to get stuck into Nigeria in their 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifier on Friday night despite a harrowing trip to the Super Eagles’ nest.

It took Bafana 30 hours to get to Uyo, arriving at their hotel on Thursday morning after leaving Johannesburg the previous day.

Their initial charter flight out of Johannesburg was delayed by 4 hours on Wednesday.

After eventually leaving OR Tambo International Airport, the team had to stay over in Port Harcourt, as Uyo airport had “closed” by the time the team was scheduled to take off.

Bafana coach Hugo Broos, however, has seen this movie before and wants to use the travel setbacks to fire his team up for the crucial match.

 “We are more focused than ever. Travelling in Africa is difficult, so that is not our focus. We are focused on the job at hand and that is the game against Nigeria,” said Broos at a press conference held at Godswill Akpabio Stadium.

According to a Safa press release, local media seemed more focused on the team’s injuries than the game itself, making sure they had as much information on every injury concern in the Bafana camp.

“We will see about Mudau, there is much talk about him and other injuries. The (Nigeria) dangerman is Ademola Lookman, then there is Victor Osimhen, who is doubtful, but we are not focusing on that,” said Broos.

“We are focusing on our game tomorrow, we have the ability and we have proven that at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Côte d’Ivoire.”.

Meanwhile, forward Percy Tau suggested that out of the group in Uyo, anyone who plays on Friday night has the resilience as well as the experience to rise to the occasion.

“We play in CAF, so we know what it’s like traveling and playing. It is never easy, but we are professionals, we are ready, and we are hungry to play. This is all that we are here for.”

On the other side of the pitch, South Africa captain Ronwen Williams is one of four players in their camp that have battled niggles this week - the others are Teboho Mokoena, Aubrey Modiba and Bathusi Aubaas.

But Broos says: “Everybody knows that every one of us wants to qualify for the World Cup.

“We have two tough games coming up - Nigeria are Afcon finalists and their players are playing in the best competitions in Europe.

“At the other end, you saw what we can do against them - if we had a little more luck we would have been in the final. I think we were the best team in the semis, so we have no reason to be afraid.

“[Tuesday’s opponent] Zimbabwe are a different team after Afcon. But if you see our performances of the last six months - at Afcon and [in the friendly against] Algeria - we have to be confident and we have to believe in our chances.”

“We need at least four points of six which means we stay in the qualifying race and that’s our goal for the next two games.”