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Doctor Khumalo finally embraces Hugo Broos after sterling work with Bafana at AFCON

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The outspoken Broos vexed South African football figures, clubs and coaches when he first set foot in the country with his controversial views and his squad selection.

South Africa’s head coach Hugo Broos is lifted in the air by his players after winning the Africa Cup of Nations third place play-off against the Democratic Republic of Congo at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium in Abidjan, Cote dIvoire on 10 February 2024. Picture: Gavin Barker, BackpagePix

Bafana Bafana legend Doctor Khumalo has expressed his delight at the success of national team head coach Hugo Broos.

The outspoken Broos vexed South African football figures, clubs and coaches when he first set foot in the country with his controversial views and his squad selection. Although he has gone on to admit to some of his faults, the 71-year-old coach still had a lot of detractors before the recently concluded Africa Cup of Nations.

One of those figures was 1996 Afcon winner Khumalo, who spoke out against Broos’ views on South African football as he felt they were disrespectful at the time.

However, two years into his tenure, Broos led Bafana to a third-place finish at the Afcon, a first in 24 years.

Bafana’s remarkable progress under Broos has seen the Belgian earn the respect of Khumalo.

Khumalo spoke to the media on the sidelines of the viewing of Bafana’s bronze medal match against the Democratic Republic of Congo, courtesy of the national team’s sponsor 10 bets, at PDL Lifestyle in Pimville at the weekend.

He admitted to attempting to defend the culture of Bafana but also expressed his joy at being proven wrong by Broos.

“How we spoke about Hugo when he arrived was our opinion because, at the end of the day, we can’t let people who don’t know what South Africa is (tell us about the national team),” he said.

“At the end of the day, I’m glad he came to the party and the very same players that he was undermining are the same ones that are receiving the most praise from him.

“Hugo, you can tell, has been in this game for a very long time. He knows the mind tricks, and he played those very well when he saw that the boat was sinking. He was smart,” he added.

“I’ll give him the credit because it’s all about a wise man redeeming himself in terms of understanding what it takes to be a South African, what kind of players you need and what needs to be done. For that I can give him full marks and praise him.”

Bafana defeated the DRC to claim the bronze medal for the fourth time in the country’s history but a first post-2000.

Bafana’s decline over the years has seen them fail to consistently qualify for major tournaments and struggle past the group stages on the odd occasion.

However, their 2023 Afcon has signalled somewhat of a rebirth of a sleeping giant, one that Broos will hope to use to further his exceptional work on the continent.

Khumalo, who was part of the first and last Bafana side to win the Afcon, sent a stern message to both South African supporters and stakeholders to make telling contributions to progress the work done by Broos.

“South Africa must wake up. Madiba spent 27 years in jail and we spent 28 years not making it past the semi-finals. That is something we cannot afford to happen again. Let’s just do what needs to be done with our game and our national team,” he said.

“These boys have just restored the pride of Bafana. No individual gets the credit, this is teamwork. And more especially (praise must go) to Hugo Broos and his technical team, but we need to look at ourselves as South Africans to see if we’re supporting him to achieve his dreams.”

@ScribeSmiso

IOL Sport

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