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Bafana coach Hugo Broos to name the squad for crucial 2022 World Cup qualifiers

Mninawa Ntloko Digital sports editor
Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos
Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos will on Thursday name the squad to represent the nation in the crucial 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

The national team face neighbours Zimbabwe in Harare on September 3 in the first qualifier and then follow up that tough away encounter with an equally tricky date with Ghana at home at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on September 6.

These matches will finally give South Africans an idea of how the 69-year-old Belgian coach is thinking as he is yet to coach the side since his appointment in May. The well-travelled mentor — he led Cameroon to the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations title in Gabon — returned home for his second Covid-19 vaccination soon after his appointment in May.

While he was spotted in the stands in Kaizer Chiefs' MTN8 quarterfinal match at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Sunday afternoon, he has not taken his place on the bench in Bafana's recent matches.

Broos missed the friendly against Uganda at Orlando Stadium in June and also did not play a role in the team’s participation in the Cosafa Cup competition that the makeshift Bafana won in Gqeberha.

The start of 2022 World Cup qualifiers was postponed to September due to contentious Covid-19 testing protocols and to also enable some African countries time to upgrade their facilities to meet Fifa standards.

Broos and his Macedonian assistant Čedomir Janevski and Helman Mkhalele will start working on preparations for the tricky qualifiers against Zimbabwe and Ghana.

In the absence of Broos‚ a makeshift Bafana lifted the Cosafa Cup after beating Senegal in a penalty shoot-out in the final under caretaker coach Morena Ramoreboli‚ who took over at the 11th hour after Mkhalele contracted Covid-19.

It remains to be seen what type of combination Broos will select for the all-important qualifiers as he has made it clear that Bafana must rebuild from the team that failed to qualify for next year’s Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

Broos seems likely to pick some players from the team that failed to qualify for Afcon‚ some from the squad that won Cosafa and a few others from the Under-23 squad that lost all their three group matches at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Ethiopia are the fourth team in SA’s Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifying Group G.