Injury storm blights Bafana friendlies

Ronwen Williams of Mamelodi Sundowns. | BackpagePix

Ronwen Williams of Mamelodi Sundowns. | BackpagePix

Published Mar 20, 2024


Smiso Msomi

Bafana Bafana head coach Hugo Broos has been left fuming as uncertainty surrounds the fitness of Mamelodi Sundowns players selected for two friendlies.

The South African national football side arrived in Algeria and began their preparations for matches against Andorra and the Foxes.

In his final 23-man squad, Broos named seven Sundowns players, who were given permission to join the squad late because of their Nedbank Cup commitments on Sunday.

Ronwen Williams of Mamelodi Sundowns. | BackpagePix

However, national team captain Ronwen Williams as well as midfielder Tebogo Mokoena, who were part of Bafana’s squad, were pronounced injured by Sundowns head coach Rulani Mokwena after their Nedbank Cup clash with Maritzburg United.

Both Williams and Mokoena were absent from the team on the day.

Bafana kick off their north African tour tomorrow, when they face Andorra at the 19 May 1956 Stadium at 11pm, before facing Algeria five days later at the Nelson Mandela Stadium.

Broos quickly got upset when questioned about the fitness of the two Sundowns players as he spoke to the media yesterday.

The Belgium-born coach, normally very shrewd in his responses, stated that he had not been made aware of the injuries and expected the proper procedures to be followed by Sundowns if that was the case.

“If they are really injured, they have to inform us and not talking with the press and tell them they are injured,” Broos said. “I think we have a doctor and they know we have a doctor. They have the phone number of the doctor.

Tebogo Mokoena of Mamelodi Sundowns. | BackpagePix

“So why don’t they call us and give us a medical report?”

“They didn’t do it, so that means they are fit. I’m very sorry, I can’t go on rumours and saying of coach Rulani and maybe the technical director telling me they are injured – give me a medical report! Then our doctor will decide if they are injured or not.

“Why is he talking to the press? Why don’t the medical staff of Sundowns contact our medical staff? Why do they not tell them this is the problem and this is the medical report? Look, those players are not fit and well.

“I’m very sorry but I don’t like that kind of thing and telling to press some things. They have to call us and say, ‘look, this is the problem with the player and this is the medical report’.

“They didn’t do it, so for me, they are fit. Final.”

The Sundowns contingent of players have formed the core of Broos’ best team since he arrived in 2021.

The experienced mentor took 10 of them to Ivory Coast where Bafana achieved an unexpected third-place finish at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Williams walked away with the goalkeeper of the tournament award, while Mokoena was named in the team of the tournament.