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NKARENG MATSHE | Broos’ short-sighted Chiefs stance is damaging to the national cause

Ntseki must avoid meeting with coach who sees nothing wrong with his comments

Nkareng Matshe Sports editor
Siyanda Xulu of South Africa, Hugo Broos, coach of South Africa and Grant Margeman of South Africa during Bafana Bafana training and press conference at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on 04 September 2023.
Siyanda Xulu of South Africa, Hugo Broos, coach of South Africa and Grant Margeman of South Africa during Bafana Bafana training and press conference at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on 04 September 2023.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix Staff

Molefi Ntseki comes across as one of the most genuine guys around, but even a man of his humility should know when to take a stand.

For the second time in days, the Kaizer Chiefs coach found his name used prominently in a Bafana Bafana press conference addressed by Hugo Broos, who said he would seek a meeting with Ntseki to clarify whatever he meant when, last week, he stated no current Amakhosi player was worthy of the national jersey.

Broos specifically blamed Chiefs’ current struggles and lack of improvement for his bizarre stance, but lo and behold, he was found with a tail between his legs when he had to backtrack and call up Pule Mmodi as a replacement for the injured Themba Zwane. As this is an official Fifa week, Chiefs had no choice but to oblige by releasing Mmodi to join the camp for the friendlies against Namibia tomorrow and DR Congo on Tuesday.

Leaders must be humble enough to accept when they have erred and, at a follow up press conference on Monday, I expected Broos to have realised his folly and close the matter by showing some contrition.

“I don’t think I said anything wrong,” the Belgian blabbered, adding he will seek an audience with Ntseki to “clarify” what he meant. Also pacifyingly, Broos told us he initially wanted Ntseki as his assistant but had to settle for Helman Mkhalele instead (I’m not sure what was the relevance of this information).

Anyway, Ntseki should see Broos for what he truly is: a coach who offends you not once, but twice, and then requests to meet you to explain why he was correct to insult you. This is the height of arrogance.

Broos’s statement was a damagingly divisive, unbefitting of a national coach who should be open to welcoming players from all teams, regardless of log position or how far behind they are current champions. No national coach in world football would pick a squad on such ridiculous criteria.

It was Broos who once selected a clubless Siyanda Xulu and justified it. The first days of his tenure were like a breath of fresh air when the likes of Ethan Brooks and Yusuf Maart got nods at the time they played for unfancied teams in TS Galaxy and Sekhukhune United, respectively. 

You got a sense that Broos was on track to banish ‘club-ism’ in the national team, but his two press conferences in this camp have undone all that. He singled out one team, opening their players to rebuke at a time when social media enables a free-for-all usually unleashed according to club lines.

He then changed his mind by correctly calling up the in-form Mmodi, but strangely refused to see his error, and instead called for an audience with Ntseki which would happen only once he (Broos) returns from his two-week holiday in Europe. What cheek!

Ntseki must tell him ‘No, thanks’. A man who sincerely wants to “clarify” anything would instantly pick up the phone and ring up, and not tell a press conference he did no wrong. Broos’s statement was foolish in that he selected Mmodi long before he joined Chiefs, so he has always been in his radar. It is plain commonsense to choose national players mostly on individual form, not on their team’s collective ability.

This explains why Declan Rice and Kalvin Philips were almost always England’s first-choice central midfielders despite playing for lowly West Ham and Leeds United a few years ago, before they moved the big teams Arsenal and Manchester City.

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