Broos was definitely offside, but SA needed to hear it

Bafana coach should offer more solutions, not excuses

Nkareng Matshe Sports editor
Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos during his press conference at Safa House in Nasrec, Johannesburg on June 14 2022.
Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos during his press conference at Safa House in Nasrec, Johannesburg on June 14 2022.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Like many before him, Hugo Broos finally lost his cool this week, a year after assuming the reins at Bafana Bafana with the hope he could produce miracles.

The Bafana coach’s outburst, when he bemoaned the poor standard of SA football and lack of genuine talent, is something some of his predecessors have stated before, only to be sidestepped, or replaced, without any tangible implementation of their ideas.

Make no mistake, Broos was totally out of order to publicly display his frustration. “Bafana only qualified for the 2010 World Cup because it was a gift”, was probably the most offensive line in his rant. But however one looks at it, it remains the truth – SA would never have made the World Cup had it not been hosted here.

Broos, though, should not be speaking as some helpless charlatan observing from afar. He took the job last year knowing fully well that Bafana have limitations. Such was his confidence in succeeding that he famously declared soon after arriving at Safa House: “Kill me if we don’t qualify for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations and the 2026 World Cup.”

How he planned to achieve those lofty goals with a squad he publicly chastised as less talented than what he saw in Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Ghana is a mystery. Broos must not forget he’s employed to come up with solutions, which he no doubt offered when he was interviewed for the job. He’s not a volunteer; he gets remunerated to produce results.

As crude as the Belgian was in his assessment, we must agree that SA football has regressed tremendously since the heady days of the mid-90s to early 2000s. Our footballers have grown too comfortable at home and few have ambitions of plying their trade abroad. Even those who go overseas do not last the pace (Bongani Zungu is the latest said to be considering a move back home).

As a consequence, Bafana are probably one of the few national teams on the continent dominated by local-based players. Given how the standards of our PSL have declined – where one team has won the league for the past five years and no other team reached 50 points in the just-concluded season – it’s almost impossible to compete with the giants of the continent who have starting players at top teams in Europe.

Sure, we can fluke a result here and there, such as in 2019 when Bafana stunned a Mohamed Salah-led Egypt in the Afcon last-16, but ultimately we will be exposed for what we are – a below average side failed by self-serving football leadership.  

Broos’s tirade is not dissimilar to Shakes Mashaba’s in 2017, which got him fired, except the latter’s was directed straight at the Safa hierarchy. Following Bafana’s win over Senegal in a World Cup qualifier in Polokwane, Mashaba angrily charged at Danny Jordaan and his executives who had come to congratulate the team, reasoning they had not showed him any support in the build-up to the match (which was later found to have been fixed and had to be replayed).

Mashaba was immediately suspended and eventually sacked. Nothing has happened to Broos thus far, despite effectively insulting a country that pays his salary. Indeed nothing should happen, because he told the honest truth about the sorry state of our game.

Even if he suffers a similar fate to Mashaba, his successor will complain about the same things, while the pathetic leadership go about their business as usual.

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