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'I don’t see why I should select Zwane or Jali,’ says Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos

FILE - Mamelodi Sundowns’ Themba Zwane celebrates a goal during the CAF Champions League. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

FILE - Mamelodi Sundowns’ Themba Zwane celebrates a goal during the CAF Champions League. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Published May 26, 2022

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Cape Town — Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos has been left to justify his non-selection of local favourites like Themba Zwane and Andile Jali while explaining that the bases are loaded against the South Africans in the African team competitions.

On the strength of their DStv Premiership performances, this season the Mamelodi Sundowns duo Zwane and Jali would be automatics choices for the national team. Zwane’s standing in the local competition is reflected by his nomination for the 'Player’s Player' and 'Midfielder of the Season' awards.

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The Sundowns midfield maestro Jali has even higher claims. He has been nominated for the 'Player’s Player, Footballer of the Season', 'MTN8 Last Man Standing', 'Nedbank Cup Player of the Tournament' and 'Midfielder of the Season'.

ALSO READ: Bafana coach Hugo Broos names final 23-man squad for Afcon

Questions from the media seemed to rub Broos the wrong way more so since he previously explained why the duo have not made national team selection during his term. However, despite their hefty contributions to Sundowns in domestic competitions, they did not impose themselves in CAF competitions and that may have influenced Broos.

“First of all, they (Jali and Zwane) do not play continental football. They play African football,” Broos told the media during the live television broadcast.

“There is a difference when you watch UEFA Champions League. When I watch the semi-final Bayern (Munich) versus Villarreal and when I watch the (CAF) semi-final with Sundowns against Petro [Petro de Luanda] there is a big difference.

ALSO READ: Even without Warriors, we will have to fight, says Bafana captain Ronwen Williams

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“I said it from the beginning, and I’ve said it now, and I’ll say it in two years when I’m still here. I am very sorry, but I don’t see why I should select Jali or Zwane.

"Please do not misunderstand me. Last year when I selected my first squad, everyone was asking me ‘why didn’t you select Njabulo Ngcobo, he is the best defender?’ Now look what happened to him at Kaizer Chiefs, he does not play.

"There is also a difference when you play that kind of games and when you play for Bafana Bafana. There you will be confronting players who are playing in Europe. The players in Europe are playing a different standard of championship.

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ALSO READ: Bafana Bafana's hopes of Afcon qualification receives a major boost after Zimbabwe, Kenya ban upheld

“You can’t do everything. In my selection (process) there are not many players who play in European championships but that is for the moment something that is not good for South African football. We do not have enough players there [in Europe].

“All the teams that we play have players in Europe, look at Morocco.”

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Broos, the Belgian tactician, explained that the entire Moroccan squad, bar one, plies their trades in Europe. South Africa, in stark contrast, have a handful of players based abroad.

ALSO READ: Bafana Bafana drawn alongside Morocco, Zimbabwe, Liberia for AFCON 2023 qualifiers

There were also questions about the absence of the 32-times capped Bongani Zungu, who is based in France with the second division club Amiens SC.

"I see what happened to him in France," said Broos. "I am very sorry, but this is not a guy who has to be with our group, for the moment.

"I do not speak only about his qualities as a player, but you see the troubles he had with Amiens this year. He didn't play in half of the games because there was trouble."

ALSO READ: Kenya and Zimbabwe included in 2023 Afcon draw despite bans

Broos trimmed the 37-man preliminary squad down to a manageable 23-man strong side.

The first Group K match will be against Morocco in the capital Rabat on 9 June.

Bafana Bafana are placed 69th in the latest FIFA rankings, Morocco are 24th and the only other Group K team, Liberia are 149th.

Bafana Bafana squad:

Goalkeepers: Ronwen Williams (SuperSport United), Veli Mothwa (AmaZulu), Bruce Bvuma (Kaizer Chiefs).

Defenders: Nyiko Mobbie (Sekhukhune United), Khuliso Mudau, Grant Kekana, Lyle Lakay, (all Mamelodi Sundowns), Bandile Shandu, Innocent Maela (both Orlando Pirates), Thibang Phete (Belenenses, Portugal), Taariq Fielies, Terrence Mashego (both Cape Town City).

Midfielders: Spephele Sithole (Belenenses, Portugal), Goodman Mosele (Orlando Pirates), Yusuf Maart (Sekhukhune), Phathutshedzo Nange (Chiefs).

Strikers: Thembinkosi Lorch (Pirates), Evidence Makgopa (Baroka FC), Khanyisa Mayo (City), Fagrie Lakay (Pyramids, Egypt), Lyle Foster (Westerlo, Belgium), Bongokuhle Hlongwane (Minnesota FC, USA), Percy Tau (Al Ahly, Egypt).

@Herman_Gibbs

IOL Sport

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