AFCON 2023: Who Are Hugo Broos’ Head Coach Rivals in Group E?

AFCON 2023: Who Are Hugo Broos’ Head Coach Rivals in Group E?

Jarryd Westerdale
updated at December 27, 2023 at 9:42 AM
In this article:
CAF Africa Cup of Nations logo
  • AFCON 2023 begins on January 13 with hosts Ivory Coast against Guinea-Bissau
  • Hugo Broos will be the oldest of the head coaches aiming for victory in Group E
  • Bafana Bafana have been drawn against Tunisia, Mali and neighbours Namibia

The players knock them over but the head coaches line the dominoes up.

Group E of the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations is filled with talent and no team will escape without standing toe-to-toe with Africa's best.

With three teams possibly progressing depending on the strength of their finishes, only one head coach may suffer the embarrassment of an early exit.

Hugo Broos, Jalel Kadri, Collin Benjamin, Eric Chelle, AFCON, Bafana Bafana.
Hugo Broos will be up against Eric Chelle, Jalel Kadri and Collin Benjamin in the AFCON dugouts. Photos: @iddynanya, @90_tunisiano and @sefaa_b.
Source: Twitter

Hugo Broos is the only manager of the four Group E combatants to have gone all the way, having done so in 2017 with Cameroon's Indomitable Lions.

The 71-year-old has commanded the technical area since the late eighties, but his stint at Bafana Bafana is only the second time he has led a national team.

His closest Group E rival is almost 20 years his junior, but can expect minimal favours as they look to better their respected elder.

Who are Hugo Broos' AFCON Group E rivals?

1. Eric Chelle

This is Eric Chelle's first appointment as head coach of a national team after cutting his teeth in the French domestic leagues.

The Abidjan-born boss will be hoping for a successful return home and has talent at his disposal, with the majority of his players being based in Europe.

Chelle has instilled a fighting mentality in his team, making sure that opponents earn any result they achieve. Speaking to SportsGazette, Chelle said:

"It doesn’t matter what happens whether we win or not, but from now on to meet Mali we will have to go there and we will be respected.”

2. Collin Benjamin

The 45-year-old Namibian boss is the only head coach in the group to have played for his national team. In between making 200 appearances in Germany's domestic leagues, Collin Benjamin played for Namibia 32 times.

He joined the national coaching setup in 2018 as an assistant and has been permanent number one since June 2022.

Benjamin just released his AFCON squad, which includes Peter Shalulile and Deon Hotto. He will relish the underdog tag, and in a message to the 'big boys', Benjamin told the BBC:

"We're sitting here on this table with you all and we want a piece of that bread. If you want to take all of it, you'd better be really good because we are prepared to take that fight on."

3. Jalel Kadri

Another first-time national team appointee, Jalel Kadri is the oldest of Hugo Broos' obstacles at 52. Kadri did not play the game professionally but has been in the dugout since 2001 and has experience all across the Arab world.

Tunisia are regular qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup and will demand nothing short of qualification from Group E.

Kadri's form for Tunisia has been mixed, but did register a 3-1 friendly win against Egypt in September and memorably beat France at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Tunisia are also among the most present teams throughout AFCON's history and will be making their 21st appearance, as per Made in Africa Sport.

Hugo Broos begins his quest for South Africa's second AFCON title on January 16 against Mali before taking on neighbours Namibia on January 21. Their final group game will be against Tunisia on January 24.

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Mamelodi Sundowns' Bafana stars overworked

Sports Brief recently reported on how the bulk of Hugo Broos' starting XI could be suffering from fatigue.

The Belgian will want his Bafana Bafana team in peak condition but the best have had a busy 2023.

Mamelodi Sundowns' players will have played up to 30 games by the time the AFCON break arrives

Jarryd Westerdale photo
Jarryd Westerdale
Jarryd Westerdale (based in Johannesburg) joined Sports Brief after four years in the community journalism sphere. He is a two-time Alet Roux Award winner and was a finalist in multiple categories at the Forum of Community Journalism Excellence Awards.
Hugo Broos