Hugo Broos raring to go after watching Bafana from a distance for several months since appointment

Mninawa Ntloko Digital sports editor
The back-to-back 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifiers will see Belgian coach Hugo Broos sit on the bench for the first time.
The back-to-back 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifiers will see Belgian coach Hugo Broos sit on the bench for the first time.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos has revealed that the past few months have been incredibly frustrating as he could not start his job, even though he was hired in May.

The 69-year-old Belgian coach returned home for his second Covid-19 vaccination soon after his appointment and did not take his place on the bench in the team's recent matches. He missed Bafana’s 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 in Gqeberha in July.

He said he could not wait to get stuck in as he prepares Bafana for Friday's away 2022 World Cup qualifier against Zimbabwe, and the tough home match against Ghana at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on Monday.

“I am very happy that I can start working,” he said with a smile.

“So, in the past few months, I have been looking at videos and getting to know the players. I am not done with my work, not at all. There is a lot of work to do.

“But today we finally start working and this is important. The players are here.

“I said to them [on the first day of the camp on Sunday], I apologise that I cannot put the right name on the right player at the moment. But it will come with time and it will be easier when I work with them, and when I see the positions. It will be a little bit easier for me.

“But again, I was waiting for [Monday] to finally start work. I am very happy.”

Broos was yet to be paid a salary since his appointment on May 5 and his contract only commenced when he finally returned to SA recently. 

The Belgian admitted he is relieved that star striker Percy Tau completed his move to Egypt a few days ago, as the SA Football Association would have had great difficulty trying to secure his release from English Premier League side Brighton & Hove Albion.

The Belgian has watched developments in neighbouring Zimbabwe with keen interest as Premier League clubs announced a few days ago that they would not release their players for games in countries on the red-list due to quarantine rules issued by the British government.

The Zimbabweans find themselves in a predicament as coach Zdravko Logarusic named several UK-based players in the squad to face Bafana, and they are now scrambling to secure their release for the crunch World Cup encounter.

“I am very happy that he [Tau] plays in Egypt now, that is for sure,” a visibly delighted Broos said with a chuckle.

“But OK, this could be a problem when I look at the players of my colleague in Zimbabwe [Logarusic]. Maybe [they will] miss four or five players because the England teams do not want to release their players.

“I understand what the teams want because if you [allow] your players to go, [they will miss 10 days] and when he comes back there are more days in quarantine. So this is not something to be happy about, but I understand it.

“But on the other hand I understand the clubs also. I am very happy that we do have a player with such challenges in Bafana and he [Tau] is playing in Egypt now and we do not have problems.

“If you miss a player like him [Tau], it is not a nice thing for a coach.”

Denmark-based Gift Links and Luther Singh were not part of the first training session at Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto on Monday as they had games in Europe.

Broos hopes to have them both in camp on Tuesday afternoon so that he can plan properly for the Zimbabweans.

“They will be here [on Tuesday], so in the afternoon training they will be there.”

Bafana depart for Zimbabwe on Wednesday.