As a former top defender for Anderlecht and Club Brugge in his native Belgium in the 1970s and ’80s, amassing 24 national team caps, Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos should be well-informed and knowledgeable about the national team setup.
Hell no, he isn’t judging by the selection of his Bafana squad and his team of the day against France.
As a national team coach, you select the best available players in the country who are on form. It is not a domain to use as a learning curve and for experimenting. You don’t have the luxury to teach players how to play football, that is done at club level.
Bafana, like minnows, struggled and were eventually embarrassingly thumped 5-0 on Tuesday.
And were it not for captain Ronwen Williams’s tenacity, playing a crucial role in goal, the drubbing could have been worse. In the end it was obvious our players were swamped and caught in the deluge that is the star-studded French team.
In the aftermath they emerged as groupies. But isn’t wearing the national team jersey synonymous with patriotism? Where’s their pride?
Immediately after the final whistle they surrounded Les Bleus players, asking for selfies from their opponents who had just humiliated them, the likes of pacy and world-renowned PSG striker Kylian Mbappé and midfielder Paul Pogba of Manchester United.
Broos describes Mbappé as “one of the best players in the world”. Who are South Africa’s best players in the world?
Since taking over Bafana’s coaching reins last May, Broos has come under heavy criticism for his omission of the more experienced players, not only the Mamelodi Sundowns duo of utility midfielders Themba Zwane and Andile Jali but where are likes of Europe-based Kobamelo Kodisang, Lebogang Mothiba, Lebogang Phiri and Bongani Zungu?
So star-struck were our Bafana players, it was evident Broos went for a naïve, immature and inexperience lot. Egyptian club Pyramids forward Fagrie Lakay even went to the extent of asking for Mbappé’s pants and got them. Unbelievable!
There’s talk Bafana will “grow from the French experience”. I beg to differ, and I repeat: the national team is not a place for growth, knowledge is gained at club level. Broos must just admit he underestimated the polarity in class between Bafana and some of the top European
countries after his record of eight matches played against African sides, getting five victories, two draws and a loss.
Who forced Broos’s hand to select a young team with no experience? We’ve got a myriad quality players who could have matched Les Bleus pound for pound. We expect a wholesale change for the better if there is a next time for you, Broos.
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