Broos' brigade mend SA's hearts

Legend Khumalo convinced Bafana on right track

Neville Khoza Journalist
Bafana coach Hugo Broos greets players during the 2022 FIFA World Cup, qualifier match between South Africa and Zimbabwe at FNB Stadium.
Bafana coach Hugo Broos greets players during the 2022 FIFA World Cup, qualifier match between South Africa and Zimbabwe at FNB Stadium.
Image: Lefty Shivambu

Bafana Bafana may have failed to qualify for next year’s Fifa World Cup in Qatar, but the players and coach Hugo Broos have won the hearts of many South Africans.

For years, many had lost hope in the senior national team after they failed to qualify for big tournaments in successive years. However, the impressive run in the qualifiers for the Qatar tournament where they finished with 13 points, missing out only because they scored one goal less than Ghana, left many impressed.

One of people who've been impressed by the current team is Bafana legend Doctor Khumalo, who thinks Broos has done an excellent job with the team since taking over in May. 

“He has done well from a team that didn’t qualify for the tournament before, it has been a fruitful journey until the last match [against Ghana on Sunday] where the Senegal referee spoiled it,” Khumalo explained to Sowetan yesterday.

“In terms of delivering, he has not lost a game other than the dubious defeat to Ghana which was decided by the referee.

“Funny enough, other countries who have already qualified for the playoffs don’t even have 13 points. Broos performed well, looking at the fact that he didn’t even have proper training due to different circumstances.”

In a group where they had Ghana, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe, Bafana players didn’t disappoint. They beat all the teams and were close to advancing to the playoff stage, only for Senegalese referee Moguetta Ndiaye to spoil it for them when he awarded a dubious penalty against Ghana.

Safa has lodged an appeal against the disgraceful decision.

“Broos has managed to assemble a team that is 50% novices,” Khumalo observed.

“We are also looking at the boys who are coming from the Olympics. That experience made it easier for Broos because Ethan Brooks, [Teboho] Mokoena, Ronwen [Williams] had a very high-intensity programme at the Olympics. So they were a well-oiled machine for the qualifiers.

“There are circumstances that made us not qualify for the Ghana game. If we match pound for pound with Ghanaians, they have 99 % of players playing in overseas, top teams. But they struggled on two occasions; they lost at FNB Stadium and couldn’t score except the set-piece.

“Broos has managed to work on the mentality of these youngsters. He was not only playing against Ghana, but the officials as well. So that’s not his failure, it was not in his hands."

Bafana previous group points' haul from World Cup qualifiers since 2002

2002: 16 points to finish first ahead of Zimbabwe (12), Burkina Faso (5) and Malawi (1)

2006: (doubled up as Nations Cup qualifier, with six teams in group): 16 points to finish third in a group with Ghana (21), DR Congo (16), Burkina Faso (13), Cape Verde (10) and Uganda (8)

2014: Finished second on 11 points behind Ethiopia (13). Botswana (7) and Central African Republic (3) completed the group.

2018: Finished bottom of the group with four points, behind winners Senegal (14), Burkina Faso (9) and Cape Verde (6)

2022: Finished second only due to goals scored behind Ghana (also 13 points) and ahead of Ethiopia (5) and Zimbabwe (2)

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