Home Sport Broos has his fingers crossed as Safa, PSL fight over players

Broos has his fingers crossed as Safa, PSL fight over players

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No one can fault Broos for ensuring that the Sundowns players are top of his final list, albeit still to play a cup final six days before their trip to Uyo.

Hugo Broos, head coach of South Africa. Picture: Gavin Barker, BackpagePix

Mihlali Baleka

THE NEDBANK Cup final on June 1 in Mbombela between Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates promises to be a thriller given the rivalry between the teams and their respective form, but will leave Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos feeling hard done by.

Six days after the final, Broos and his troops will face Nigeria in the third round of the Fifa World Cup qualifiers in Uyo.

Given that this is a match Bafana need to get something out of – importantly, a win – to get their qualifying campaign back on track, Broos will need his men to be sharper.

As such, the silver-haired Belgian will be crossing his fingers that there will be no injuries from the final to the players he will name in his final 23-man squad next week.

Broos will also be hoping that no one will be suffering from “hangover blues” or fatigue, and that they’ll seamlessly join the Bafana camp.

Broos has been over-reliant on the two teams for the core of his squad as most of them have mastered the art of playing and winning in continental football.

Amid their third-place finish in the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in February in Ivory Coast, Broos had 10 players from Sundowns and four from Pirates – the highest from any club.

Sundowns players such as Teboho Mokoena, Themba Zwane, Ronwen Williams, Mothobi Mvala, Grant Kekana, Khuliso Mudau, Thapelo Morena and Aubrey Modida made Bafana tick.

With all of them in the 36-member preliminary squad selected by Broos last week, it’s a no-brainer that they are tipped to make the final cut as they all played a huge part in Sundowns’ record-extending seventh successive DStv Premiership title and winning the inaugural African Football League.

Sundowns’ only blemish was not reaching the Caf Champions League final this season after losing 2-0 on aggregate to Esperance in the semi-finals.

But the fact that they reached the last four of the premier continental club competition for a second successive season speaks volumes of their impressive run in Africa.

That’s why no one can fault Broos for ensuring that the Sundowns players are top of his final list, albeit still to play a cup final six days before their trip to Uyo.

By now, the Belgian must be used to his love-hate relationship with Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena, the pair having had interesting things to say about each other in almost every passing Fifa window.

Broos seems to have chosen to be the calmer man, citing that there wouldn’t be a need for discrepancies between himself and Mokwena had the Premier Soccer League (PSL) done ‘the noble thing’.

This includes giving Bafana Bafana special preference with every Fifa window by rescheduling domestic matches so that the local-based players can join camp earlier.

Broos’s plea has fallen on deaf ears in the past, and he was appalled when the PSL decided to reschedule matches when Bafana returned from Afcon but wouldn’t do so prior to the tournament.

It’s worth mentioning that the impasse between the South African Football Association and PSL has played a big role in Broos not being granted most of his wishes.

As such, it’s the top suits in the two organisations who can find common ground for the betterment of everyone.

The PSL, for instance, could argue – and rightfully so – that they have obligations to their sponsors, MultiChoice, Nedbank and DStv. Hence, the season must be wrapped up by June 1.

That was not to undermine Safa and their commitments, but had the mother body approached the PSL, perhaps Plan B could have been made for Bafana.

For now, though, Broos has to keep his fingers crossed that he’ll have a clean bill of health from all the players who would have played in the Nedbank Cup final.

The Belgian will at least be consoled by the fact that the PSL will again host the end-of-season awards virtually on June 2, otherwise it would be another difficult situation to deal with.

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