While he will not be on duty at the Cosafa Cup, Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos’ touch will be evident in the make-up and playing style of the team.
ALTHOUGH new Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos will not be on duty at the Cosafa Cup opener against Botswana on Tuesday, his touch will be evident in the make-up and playing style of the team.
At the time of his appointment, Broos negotiated a working arrangement that excused him from Cosafa Cup and African Nations Championship tournaments.
Five points that will point to Broos’ influence.
1. When Broos was appointed he promised to overhaul the side. He felt many of the players had passed their sell by date and they would not be contributing to the future growth of the national team. The Cosafa Cup squad selected is largely an experimental one but Broos will be looking for signs from players who want to be part of his rebuilding process. In respect of selections, Broos places a huge emphasis on youth. Over the years the Belgium-born Broos has shown a knack for developing youngsters, and the latest selections suggest that he wants to continue in this vein.
2. Broos chose former Macedonian professional Cedomir Janevski as his assistant but also felt the need to have a local assistant coach among his technical staff. He is known to empower his assistants and at the time of his appointment he arranged with Safa that Helman Mkhalele will take charge of the Cosafa Cup team. Mkhalele made his debut as a Bafana Bafana coach against Uganda last month. Mkhalele speaks from the same hymn sheet as Broos when he said after the Uganda friendly: “We (Broos, Janevski and I) had a technical plan that we made sure to follow.”
3. The Cosafa Cup gives Bafana Bafana a chance to blood future leaders. To this end, AmaZulu goalkeeper Veli Mothwa has been named captain. His understudies will be Sundowns defender Rushine de Reuck and AmaZulu midfielder Siyethemba Sithebe. It’s a bold move to appoint uncapped Mothwa to lead the side but he has been at the heart of AmaZulu’s rise to the top of the Premiership standings last season. De Reuck has been a solid performer for champions Sundowns and can display his leadership qualities from central defence. Sithebe has worked like a trojan in the AmaZulu engine room and he is equipped to impose the game plan in a match.
4. There is so much happening on the national football front at this time. Bafana Bafana must contribute to the well-being of the game by winning the Cosafa Cup. It can’t be used as an excuse that the squad is an experimental one. It already enjoys a massive advantage of being the host nation. Travelling from one country to the next can be a nightmare in Covid times. The Under-23 side is preparing for the Olympic Games and trailblazing Kaizer Chiefs are poised to capture the biggest prize in African club football, the Champions League title. There is no room for also-rans at this time.
5. The performance of the team in this event will amount to stocktaking for the new coach. He has pointed out some deficiencies in the make-up of past teams. He emphasised the need for mental fortitude. He wants to develop a squad that displays a battle-hardened mentality. There were some encouraging signs when they staged a come-from-behind win against Uganda. Mkhalele, no doubt under Broos’ influence, has emphasised the importance of strong character. “We will be working hard to ensure that the mentality reaches the required levels so that when they go out, they represent the country with great pride and interest,” he said.