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PSL

Safa seek to end PSL fixtures early to give Bafana Bafana more time for Afcon preparations

19:57 GMT 14/01/2023
Bafana Bafana 2022.
The South African Football Association want PSL fixtures in March ended early to give Bafana Bafana time for their Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
  • Safa are keen to have Bafana Bafana accorded enough time
  • The federation wants the national team in camp early
  • South Africa are eyeing a return to the Afcon after 2021 miss

WHAT HAPPENED? Safa technical director Walter Steenbok has confirmed that they have written to the PSL to stop their March fixtures a day early, to allow the national team enough time to prepare for the 2023 Afcon qualifiers where they play Liberia home and away.

PSL fixtures are scheduled to go on a break from March 19 while the international window begins on March 20 but Safa wants the matches to end on March 18.

Hugo Broos’ charges got off to a losing start in the Afcon qualifiers, going down 2-1 away to Morocco and will need to beat Liberia to get their campaign back on track for the continental tournament that was pushed to 2024 in the Ivory Coast.

Bafana Bafana, have since won three while drawing one of their four friendly matches since then, giving them confidence that a victory against Liberia is within reach.

WHAT DID HE SAY? “It’s important for Bafana Bafana to qualify for Afcon in 2024 in Ivory Coast and as part of the support to the team, we have written to the Premier Soccer League to request if it is possible that the fixtures could end on the 18 (of March),” said Steenbok, as quoted by the Sowetan Live.

“We understand that the Fifa weekend starts on the 19th (of March) but we think that an extra day will help the team.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: South Africa were last in the Afcon at the 2019 edition in Egypt when they were eliminated at the quarter-final stage and Safa are keen to avoid a second successful miss after Bafana Bafana failed to make it to the 2021 tournament in Cameroon.

Broos, an Afcon winner with Cameroon in 2017, is under pressure to deliver the ticket to Ivory Coast, with the federation keen to do everything within their powers to ensure he succeeds.

WHAT’S NEXT? South Africa will host Liberia on March 20 before playing away to the same opponent eight days later.