There is a veritable mix of marksmen offers a blend of athleticism, pace, and ever-increasing levels of physicality available to coach Hugo Broos in his Bafana Bafana squad.
Bafana Bafana’s strike force for the upcoming international friendlies, drawn almost exclusively from their ‘Foreign Legion’, could blossom into the country’s most explosive attacking unit yet.
Coach Hugo Broos has named forwards such as Mihlali Mayambela (Aris, Cyprus), Percy Tau (Al Ahly, Egypt), Lyle Foster (Burnley, England), Lebo Mothiba (Strasbourg, France) and Bongokuhle Hlongwane (Minnesota, USA) in his latest squad. Mothiba has been injury-free and has been playing the best football of his career.
This veritable mix of marksmen offers a blend of athleticism, pace, and ever-increasing levels of physicality. They are all good finishers and are equally effective when used in central positions or wide channels. Some of the players may also end up as attacking midfielders in future.
Behind these foreign-based players are the remaining strikers who ply their trade locally. They are Themba Zwane (Sundowns), Monnapule Saleng and Zakhele Lepasa (Pirates) seem to reserve the best performances when wearing the Bafana Bafana jersey.
— Bafana Bafana (@BafanaBafana) October 5, 2023
Lepasa no concern for Broos
Lepasa has gone off the boil in recent matches and Broos is not too concerned that he has not been on the scoresheets.
“I’m not worried about him,” said Broos. “We have three good strikers, three different profiles with Foster, with Mothiba, and Hlongwane and I’m very happy for that.
“I said it a long time before that Lepasa is a very good striker. He just needs confidence.
“But like any other player, sometimes he couldn’t do what he usually does because he should be scoring goals. Every striker has a moment of not scoring, it can happen.”
What pleases Broos the most is that all these strikers are very different, and this offers him options when deciding on the game plan. Foster has previously spoken about the varying roles Broos has asked him to play during different stages of a match, or from one game to the next.
With these names, Bafana could be fielding the best attack in Africa and all that remains now is for Broos to decide on the best combinations for the upcoming matches.
The first friendly will be against neighbours eSwatini on Friday, and then they travel to West Africa to face next year’s Africa Cup of Nations hosts Ivory Coast on Tuesday, October 17.
Broos will likely give all the players a chance to play in the two matches, but he will also be keen to start fielding his best XI in the run-on side and try fringe players later in the match.
The US-based Njabulo Blom has been producing ‘Man of the Match’ performances for his side St Louis and now the time is ripe for him to finally produce some impressive performances for the national team. Blom will spearhead the midfield along with Portugal-based Sphephelo Sithole (Tondela), Teboho Mokoena (Sundowns) and Sibongiseni Mthethwa (Chiefs).
Goalkeepers: Ronwen Williams (Sundowns), Veli Mothwa (AmaZulu), Ricardo Goss (SuperSport)
Defenders: Nyiko Mobbie (Sekhukhune), Khuliso Mudau, Aubrey Modiba, Grant Kekana, Mothobi Mvala (all Sundowns), Nkosinathi Sibisi, Mako (all Orlando Pirates), Siyanda Xulu (SuperSport)
Midfielders: Sphephelo Sithole (Tondela), Teboho Mokoena (Sundowns), Njabulo Blom (St Louis), Mthethwa (Chiefs)
Forwards: Mihlali Mayambela (Aris), Percy Tau (Al Ahly), Monnapule Saleng, Zakhele Lepasa (Pirates), Lyle Foster (Burnley), Lebo Mothiba (Strasbourg), Themba Zwane (Sundowns), Bongokuhle Hlongwane (Minnesota)