Broos' selection criteria under scrutiny

Bafana coach recalls benchwarmers Monare, Xulu for Fifa friendlies

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Thabang Monare.
Thabang Monare.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

By picking Siyanda Xulu and Thabang Monare, Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos has contradicted himself and set a rather unsustainable precedent of selecting benchwarmers at club level.

Xulu and veteran Monare, 34, were initially not part of the Bafana team to face Andorra and Algeria in Fifa Series international friendlies in Algeria on Thursday and next Tuesday. Both games kick-off at 11pm SA time at May 19th Stadium in Annaba and Nelson Mandela Stadium in Algiers respectively.

Xulu, 31 and Monare were called-up to replace Siyabonga Ngezana and Sphephelo Sithole. According to a Safa statement, the Romania-based Ngezana couldn't make it due to "travel difficulties", while Sithole was said to be injured. 

When he announced his squad at the SABC studios last week, Broos indicated that he was prepared to blood in more young players going forward. Hence, selecting the ageing Xulu and Monare, who have struggled for game time at their clubs since returning from Afcon, means Broos is reneging on his promise.

Ime Okon of SuperSport United.
Ime Okon of SuperSport United.
Image: Philip Maeta

The arrival of Keegan Allan and the rise of Ime Ikon, who both would've been sensible replacements for Ngezana, has seen Xulu struggle to start matches at SuperSport United after returning from Afcon.  Xulu has started one of the four league outings Matsatsantsa have played since action resumed after Afcon.

Allan, 22, raised his hand in the Cosafa Cup last August. Ikon, 20, has previously made Broos' preliminary squads but pronouncing that he also ponders to represent Nigeria instead of Bafana could be one of the reasons Broos hasn't capped him yet.

Meanwhile, Monare, who had never played in almost two months before he made the final Afcon squad, has played a measly 22 minutes this year. Logically, a player like in-form Mamelodi Sundowns' Bongani Zungu, 31, would have been an automatic replacement for Sithole, especially because it's becoming evident by each passing Fifa break that younger Njabulo Blom isn't Broos' cup of tea.

When quizzed why he snubbed Blom again for these friendlies, Broos said it was because the 24-year-old "was not playing" at his US MLS side St Louis City. It's understood that Blom has been struggling with a niggle, hence he has played just one of his side's four league outings in the new season. 

Even so, selecting Monare with 22 minutes under his belt this year at club level ahead of a fit Blom, paints a curious picture of Broos's selection criteria.

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