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Bafana Bafana continually being thrown under the bus


The scheduling of the PSL’s competitions continues to hinder the progress of Hugo Broos’ Bafana Bafana, writes IOL Sport’s Herman Gibbs.

Bafana Bafana head coach Hugo Broos
Bafana Bafana head coach Hugo Broos. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Cape Town — After the weekend’s Carling Black Label Cup, the bulk of Bafana Bafana’s squad, chosen primarily from the ‘Big Three’ Premiership clubs, have been run into the ground.

The players have just come off an exhausting three-week spell in which the DStv Premiership played its final two rounds of fixtures, including the showpiece Soweto Derby, ahead of the World Cup break. Next up was the MTN8 championship round, and that was followed by the ‘Beer Cup’.

By the time the players had to report for a camp in White River, Mpumalanga, on Sunday, less than 24 hours after the all-day soccer festival at the FNB Stadium, the Belgian tactician Hugo Broos was left with an injury list the length of Long Street.

It was a shattering blow because many of the players were meant to provide the momentum gained from playing together earlier this year. Many of the players were new to the set-up since Broos had made a clean sweep when he started out as the national team coach.

His approach was not always well received because many seasoned players, many of whom were crowd favourites, failed to make the cut. However, Broos did well with players who had their limitations on the international stage.

In the end, Bafana Bafana came within a whisker of qualifying for the World Cup, but things went woefully wrong in the final qualifier against Ghana.

Early during his tenure Broos had commented on the standard of the Premier Soccer League and the lack of players in Europe’s elite leagues. Over the years, South Africa had far more players plying their trade abroad and as a result, the national team was stronger, although the team was never given a chance to play to its full potential.

Some critics will point to the fact that none of the foreigners playing in the PSL are good enough to play for their countries in the World Cup. A day ago, Ghana goalkeeper Richard Ofori, who plays for Orlando Pirates, had to withdraw from his country’s national team because of an injury and that means no PSL player will be at the World Cup.

The situation worsens when it’s Cosafa Cup time because Bafana Bafana have to rely almost solely on players from the First Division. The few Premiership players that were offered had hardly played this year. When they were called to action, they were found wanting and the team suffered ignominious defeats.

It did not also help that Broos was allowed to withdraw from the Cosafa Cup tournaments and this is something that the South African Football Association (Safa) must reconsider. The national coach should spend as much time with the national team as possible.

This time Broos is very happy with the teams that have been lined up for friendlies this week. Angola and Mozambique will be the opponents. In the past, Broos’ preparations were sabotaged because he could not always play friendlies against strong opposition, and often the matches did not take place.

Broos has also continuously asked to meet the Premiership coaches so that he can share his thoughts on how he plans to use players, and the type of game he wants the national team to play.

The PSL hierarchy is not interested and the meeting will remain a pipe dream for Broos.


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