Hugo Broos has brought about a different view to the national team as the players are now not selected on popularity, but on merit, writes Mihlali Baleka.
JOHANNESBURG – That Fifa dismissed Safa’s appeal for suspected and biased officiating during Bafana Bafana’s World Cup qualifier against Ghana, could work in Hugo Broos’ favour.
A few weeks ago, Bafana were dumped out of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers after a 1-0 defeat away to Ghana in the last game of the group stage, courtesy of André Ayew, who scored after they won a ridiculously soft penalty.
However, reviews of Maguette N’Diaye’s officiating that day showed that the Senegalese referee was seemingly biased by manipulating the game in favour of Ghana. And that is why Safa felt the need to appeal to Fifa.
The world footballing governing body, however, deemed Safa’s appeal as inadmissible, which was a big blow for South Africa’s aspirations. It was a disappointing outcome, especially after the revelation that a Ghana official was said to have visited Senegal before the match at Cape Coast Stadium.
Safa, via their chief executive Tebogo Motlanthe, confirmed that “we have received the decision without details and we will request Fifa for the reasons and consider our options” in a statement regarding the verdict last Friday.
But, perhaps, it’s worth conceding to the bogus defeat and move on.
Bafana had already exceeded expectations by holding their own until the last group game, given that Broos is rebuilding the team. The 69-year-old has brought about a different view to the national team as the players are now not selected on popularity, but on merit.
And that’s why now a player from any 16 teams in the Premiership can represent Bafana in the future.
The workrate that all the players in the PSL have put in hasn’t only shaped them individually, but their clubs as well. That’s why in the top five you’ll also find so-called smaller teams such as Stellenbosch FC, Royal AM and Sekhukhune United among the “big boys”.
With players fighting for places in Bafana and for Broos’ attention, the Belgian-born coach might not always see eye-to-eye with some of his counterparts at club level but Fifa’s dismissal of Safa’s appeal will mean that he will have a lot of time on his hands to iron out any issues he might have with the coaches.
After all, Broos’ men will also miss out on the coveted Africa Cup of Nations in January.
And that’s why there will be no better time for Broos to roll up his sleeves and not only mend fences and try to know his counterparts better, but also watch as many players, locally and internationally, as possible before Bafana’s next major assignment.
After all, it would do good for players, clubs and the national team if the coaches all got along. But that would also help Broos silence his detractors, who also believe that he took the job so he could get his last retirement package.