Broos must find better ways to address issues with PSL clubs

Nkareng Matshe Sports editor
Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos must avoid shooting from the hip and be more constructive, advises the writer.
Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos must avoid shooting from the hip and be more constructive, advises the writer.
Image: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Hugo Broos will have to find a better way of communicating with Premier Soccer League (PSL) clubs rather than resorting to the occasional outburst in the media, if he’s to get full co-operation with his Bafana Bafana project.

Broos’s confrontational attitude has been hailed as heroic in some quarters, the Belgian lauded as a straight talker, but in the end Bafana's coach must always look at the bigger picture. His every camp will require a host of players from PSL clubs and harmonising relations should be his paramount goal.

I was encouraged to hear him saying after Bafana’s two wins over Ethiopia that he would use the intervening weeks before next month’s Fifa week – when Bafana face Zimbabwe and Ghana – to iron out whatever issues the national team has had with the clubs.

But days later, matters have come to a head after Rulani Mokwena, the Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach, lambasted Bafana for allegedly not alerting the club to injuries some of the club’s players suffered during the recent national camp.

Mokwena bemoaned the fact Sundowns could not use Mothobi Mvala and Rushine de Reuck, while Thabiso Kutumela was “jaded” after Bafana's camp. Damningly, the Sundowns coach also claimed there was no communication between the medical teams and that Sundowns were not aware of Bafana’s training programme.

Broos responded by condemning Mokwena’s public attack, suggesting the coach should have picked up the phone to inquire about the goings on in Bafana's set-up and how players were treated. This is sound advice, except Broos doesn’t practice what he preaches – and there are plenty examples.

He used a press conference to complain about Orlando Pirates turning him away from their match against Sundowns while he was fully accredited. He also had a go at Pirates midfielder Goodman Mosele for failing to pitch for camp, without indicating if his staff had attempted to contact the player’s employers before ruling him completely out of the squad.

But his biggest indiscretion was the manner in which he handled Kutumela’s case, when he revealed the player had been sent by his club for vaccination when he was supposed to be in camp.

Without ascertaining anything with his own backroom staff, Broos went off on an irrational attack, intimating Sundowns had withdrawn Kutumela from the team.

As a new coach unfamiliar with the politics of our local football, Broos needs to tread carefully when addressing certain matters, lest he becomes a pawn in a war he did not start. He has to show more maturity because he’s in charge of a national team, not a club side serving narrow, selfish interests.

Above all, he needs the co-operation of all stakeholders, including feuding factions at Safa and PSL level. It is good that Bafana have a coach who not only speaks his mind, but backs up all the talk with performances as well.

But Broos must not be distracted from the end goal, which is to make Bafana a better team and, hopefully, qualify them for a major tournament. Evidence thus far is that he’s succeeding, despite hurdles he’s had to navigate and the current team’s own limitations. 

So there’s absolutely no need for the current belligerence brewing between the clubs and the coach. Broos is vastly experienced and should strive to be the bigger man who speaks with more tact than emotion.

It might not be too long before he is feted as a real hero, should he achieve the seemingly impossible task of leading SA to Qatar next year.

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