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Guns blazing: Bafana coach Broos says criticism is 'shortsighted and cheap'

Mahlatse Mphahlele Sports reporter
Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos in a press conference at Sturrock Park in Johannesburg on June 1 2022.
Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos in a press conference at Sturrock Park in Johannesburg on June 1 2022.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos has come out guns blazing at his critics, saying that naysayers are only serving to motivate him.

Bafana came under some criticism from the public after the team failed to advance to the final stage in the qualifiers for the 2022 Fifa World Cup thanks to a 1-0 defeat away to Ghana in their final group game.

The noise grew when the national team was embarrassed in a 5-0 thrashing by world champions France in Lille in late March where they were no match for superstars like Olivier Giroud and Kylian Mbappé.

Broos' inability to explain the absences of in-form Mamelodi Sundowns stars Andile Jali and Themba Zwane based on their age, when he has made exceptions to his youth policy for other players such as Thabang Monare and Sifiso Hlanti, has also drawn negative reaction. 

“This is the new chapter that we are starting after the World Cup qualifiers last year,” Broos said as Bafana started preparations at Sturrock Park in Johannesburg on Wednesday for next week's opening 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against Morocco in Rabat.

“Before we talk about the new qualifiers for Afcon, I want to go back to the qualifiers of the World Cup. For me it was a success with a disappointing end because we lost the last game.

“That goal killed us and eliminated us from going to the playoffs of the World Cup qualifiers.”

SA exited the 2022 World Cup qualifying group stage on the same points and goal difference as Ghana but with fewer goals scored, and a heavily disputed penalty in losing to the Black Stars in Cape Coast in the last game.  

Broos said the qualifiers were a success even though his young Bafana failed to qualify.

“For me it was a success — we had a new and young team and from the six games we won four, drew one and lost the other one. We had 13 points and with a bit of research it says over the past 12 years all the qualifiers that SA played for Afcon you have never had 13 points.

“The maximum was 12 points and that means this was not bad what we did. But still, after our match against Ghana, there were critics. I didn’t understand it and it was worse after the friendly games against Guinea and France.

“I don’t understand why suddenly there were so many critics but I can assure you that those critics don’t affect me because it is shortsighted and cheap.

“I can assure [people] that it doesn’t affect me, it doesn’t put pressure on me but it motivates me. It motivates me to prove all these people wrong and this is part of the job of a trainer.

“What I see happening with Pitso [Mosimane, coach of Al Ahly] in Egypt — he won the Champions League twice but today they ‘killed’ him because he lost the final, and that’s life.

“I’ll go on working and I will try to qualify us for Afcon next year. I am sure we are able to do it. We are in a group of three teams with Morocco and Liberia and it is a bit different from the World Cup qualifiers.”

The at times combustible Broos might be making something of a storm in a tea cup.

There have been pundits, including some Bafana legends, who have criticised his youth policy. Some of the coach's hit and miss selections have been worthy of criticism.

But many have backed Broos's adventurous selections and taken note of the positive results that accompanied them in the World Cup qualifiers.   


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