Bafana Bafana: Helman Mkhalele Is Confident South Africa is Closing the Gap on Nigeria’s Dominance

Bafana Bafana: Helman Mkhalele Is Confident South Africa is Closing the Gap on Nigeria’s Dominance

Byron Pillay
updated at February 7, 2024 at 11:23 AM
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H. Mkhalele
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  • South Africa will take on Nigeria in the semi-final of the Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast
  • Helman Mkhalele believes that Bafana Bafana are closing the gap on Nigeria's dominance
  • Mkhalele was part of the legendary South African squad that won the AFCON title in 1996

Bafana Bafana are yearning to make history at the Africa Cup of Nations.

The South African side will take on Nigeria in the semi-final of the tournament, and assistant coach Helman Mkhalele believes that the side have closed the gap to the Super Eagles.

Helman Mkhalele has weighed in on South Africa's upcoming game against Nigeria in the Africa Cup of Nations.
Bafana Bafana assistant manager Helman Mkhalele has explained how the squad are hungry to make their own history. Image: Matthew Ashton/ @Velile_Mnyandu (Twitter).
Source: Getty Images

Speaking ahead of the semi-final encounter, Mkhalele touched on previous encounters with the Super Eagles, saying that while Nigeria have claimed that dominance, they can no longer do so with that confidence.

Nigeria won the last encounter between the two sides, beating South Africa 2-1 at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

As noted by Olympics.com, Nigeria won the quarter-final clash thanks to goals from Samuel Chukwueze and William Troost-Ekong. Bongani Zungu grabbed Bafana’s only goal of the game.

With Nigeria holding bragging rights, Mkhalele maintained that the current South African side was hungry to make their own history.

Mkhalele was part of 1996 AFCON-winning side

Hugo Broos’ Bafana will look to emulate the national team of 1996 and go on to win the title.

Mkhalele, who played for Orlando Pirates at the time, was also a part of the title-winning squad.

As reported by Transfermarkt, Mkhalele played a total of 16 games in the continental tournament for South Africa, scoring one goal for the team.

In total, he made 45 appearances for Bafana and has been the team's assistant manager since 2021.

Hugo Broos dismisses retirement rumours

Sports Brief previously reported how Bafana Bafana's coach dismissed speculation that he would retire after the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.

The head coach of the South African national team hinted prior to the tournament that he might end his coaching journey soon.

Now 71, Hugo Broos faced criticism when he first took over the job but has led South Africa to the semi-final of the tournament against Nigeria.

Authors
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Byron Pillay
Byron Pillay is a sports writer and Head of the Department at Sports Brief (joined in 2022) with over 10 years of experience in community journalism and a degree in journalism from Caxton's Cadet School.
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