Bafana Bafana head coach, Hugo Broos, is confident of qualifying for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. South Africa will host Benin at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday and then travel to East-Central Africa to face Rwanda on Tuesday.
Bafana held their first training session yesterday afternoon in Pretoria, and as usual, Broos’ preparations were disrupted by player withdrawals.
Strasbourg striker, Lebo Mothiba, was ruled out of the camp after his club declared him unfit to compete at the weekend. He has been replaced by Orlando Pirates forward, Evidence Makgopa. The 23-year-old striker scored the winner for Pirates in their 1-0 Soweto derby win against Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday.
Broos will also be without Burnley striker Lyle Foster, who has been ruled out as he is battling with his mental health currently.
There is the possibility of more withdrawals as two Mamelodi Sundowns players, Grant Kekana and Thapelo Maseko, are waiting for their fates to be decided by the medical staff with niggling injuries.
“I’m a bit unhappy and I’m not blaming anyone, but that has happened a lot in the last three months,” Broos said.
“We had a lot of injuries in the last two months and there were a lot of players who have not been there. When you look now you can see Mothiba is not there. I had a telephone chat with his coach, and we had the medical report of Mothiba. He is not able to play on Saturday. We have Kekana and Maseko also [doubtful] at the moment.
“It’s a bit of a pity it has happened in the last month because little by little we were working to [put together] the team that we wanted to work with in preparations for those two qualifiers and Afcon.
“But we didn’t really have the opportunity to do it because we always had to change players due to injuries.
“But again, that can happen and it’s a pity that it happens now in the last three months every time we have a camp.”
However, with all of the injury woes in the camp, Broos remains confident in his team.
“With the guys we have, and certainly the [other] guys will return for Afcon, [I’m confident] we will be strong enough to go to Afcon and have good results. Also, I’m not worried about the quality of the group now, even when those players are not there. I think we have worked on the squad depth in the last months to have other players and see them during those camps.”
“I think we will not have that problem where I have to say after the game against Benin, if the results are not good, that this one was not here and that one was not here. I will not do that — I have confidence in those who are here, and I know that with these players we will have good results.”
Written by: Ntsako Mukhari