Former Kaizer Chiefs star disappointed by Orlando Pirates kid’s Bafana snub

Relebohile Mofokeng has been a revelation for Orlando Pirates. Picture: Sydney Mahlangu / BackpagePix

Relebohile Mofokeng has been a revelation for Orlando Pirates. Picture: Sydney Mahlangu / BackpagePix

Published Dec 17, 2023


Former Kaizer Chiefs man Mandla Masango has expressed his disappointment at seeing Orlando Pirates youngster Relebohile Mofokeng miss out on a national team call-up for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament.

Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos on Thursday named a preliminary 50-man squad for the continental showpiece taking place in Ivory Coast next month.

The final 23 men who will jet off to West Africa will be named on December 28 with the camp beginning in Stellenbosch on January 4.

One of the brightest names emerging from our shores at the moment is Mofokeng, who has earned the trust of Buccaneers’ head coach Jose Riveiro this season and has attracted European interest as well.

Still only a teenager at 19 years of age, Mofokeng has already featured 17 times for the Sea Robbers this season across the Dstv Premiership, MTN8, CAF Champions League and the Carling Knockout Cup.

His impressive displays have also seen him called up to the national under-20 squad.

However, Masango, who also made his way through the age group national teams before becoming a regular for Bafana, believes it’s time that Mofokeng forms part of the senior team’s plans.

The 34-year-old’s strike against Ghana in the 2015 Afcon in Equatorial Guinea will live on in the minds of South African football fans.

Masango has now revealed that he would have liked to see Mofokeng form part of the travelling squad to Ivory Coast just as a means to embed him with the demands and requirements of the national team.

“I wouldn’t say he’s been overlooked but I would’ve loved to see Mofokeng as part of the travelling squad because he’s young and he’s doing very well,” he told the media.

“He doesn’t even have to play but that on its own will give him a confidence booster. Because if you think back at the likes of (Cristiano) Ronaldo, who made their national debuts at around the same age as Mofokeng, so I would’ve loved to see that happening with him.”

Masango earned 22 Bafana caps between 2014 and 2016, scoring and assisting five times under coach Shakes Mashaba.

The tenure of Broos has seen an upturn in consistent results while the style of play has been questioned on occasion.

While Broos has divided opinions throughout his tenure as Bafana boss, he has earned the backing of Masango, who expressed his excitement at seeing the national team progress and qualify for major tournaments again.

“I’m confident going to the Afcon because, at the end of the day, it’s all about results,” he said.

He added: “For us to qualify for Afcon speaks volumes about the kind of progress we are making and for everyone that’s contributed to Bafana qualifying. It raises their confidence to say we can do well at the tournament.”

Bafana will kick off their Afcon campaign on January 16 against Mali before battling Namibia and Tunisia in the group stages.