Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos says it remains his ambition to inspire the national team to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, although that might not be possible given the fact that the team is currently under-going a rebuilding phase.
On Thursday noon, Broos announced a 31-man preliminary squad that will face Zimbabwe and Ghana in the global showpiece qualifiers next month away and at home respectively.
Broos said he will announce the final 23-squad in due course.
Since taking over the reins in May, this will be the first time that the 69-year-old will be in charge for a match, given that he was absent for Bafana’s international friendly against Uganda and the Cosafa Cup that was hosted in Gqeberha in July.
But the Belgian coach kept the bulky of the squad that won the Cosafa Cup, while he also called up some of the Under-23 players that played in the Tokyo Olympic Games. And that’s why his selection consisted of young players, mostly.
“Let me be clear, for once and always, I want to go to Qatar. Do not let there be a misunderstanding. I would like to be in Afcon in 2023. I want to go to the World Cup in 2026. This is my ambition and I want to put it in my team,” Broos explained.
“But again, as you see, for example the qualification for the World Cup as an African country, it is extremely difficult. There are 10 groups of four teams and that makes 40 teams and only five of them can qualify for the World Cup next year.”
He continued: “Compared to European teams, there are more chances for them to qualify. But the ambition is to go there. But because we are rebuilding and making a young team, maybe it might happen and we do not have to be disappointed.”
With domestic and international campaigns having only commenced for the new season, Broos conceded it has been difficult to make some of the selections. But based on what he has seen in the last few months, he is confident about his team. However, the fact that some of the integral figures in his team are not getting game-time at club level that has made his job a little bit difficult. As a result, he since advised talisman Percy Tau to leave Brighton & Hove Albion and join Egyptian side Al Ahly.
Since returning to Brighton early this year, Tau has failed to become a regular in the team. As a result his former coach Pitso Mosimane has expressed his intentions to reunite with him in Egypt. Broos has since endorsed the reunion between the two.
“We have players abroad and they don’t pay, and is really a problem. But that they had pre-season preparations with the clubs, means that they are physically okay. But you can train as much as you want but if you do not play, it os not good,” he said.
“This will mean that they don’t have the rhythm of the game. And I hope that the players in Europe are playing. Percy Tau, I hope that he can leave Brighton and go to Egypt, and reunite with Pitso who’s at Al Ahly. It will be a very good thing for him.”
Bafana Bafana’s 31-man preliminary squad for the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers:
Goalkeepers: Ronwen Williams (SuperSport United), Veli Mothwa (AmaZulu), Bruce Bvuma (Kaizer Chiefs) & Sifiso Mlungwana (Golden Arrows)
Defenders: Nyiko Mobbie (Mamelodi Sundowns), Rushine De Reuck (Mamelodi Sundowns), Thapelo Morena (Mamelodi Sundowns), Siyanda Xulu (Haopel Tel Aviv, Israel), Thibang Phete (Belenenses, Portugal), Thabani Dube (Kaizer Chiefs), Njabulo Ngcobo (Kaizer Chiefs), Mosa Lebusa (Mamelodi Sundowns), Sibusiso Mabiliso (Kaizer Chiefs) & Innocent Maela (Orlando Pirates)
Midfielders: Kobamelo Kodisang (FC Braga B, Portugal), Sipho Mbule (Supersport United), Teboho Mokoena (Supersport United), Mothobi Mvala (Mamelodi Sundowns), Sphelele Mkhulise (Mamelodi Sundowns), Sphephelo Sithole (Belenenses FC, Portugal), Njabulo Blom (Kaizer Chiefs) Ethan Brooks (TS Galaxy), Siyethemba Sithebe (AmaZulu) & Yusuf Maart (Sekhukhune United)
Forwards: Thabiso Kutumela (Mamelodi Sundowns), Bongokuhle Hlongwane (Maritzburg United), Gift Links (Aarhus, Denmark), Evidence Makgopa (Baroka FC), Victor Letsoalo (Royal AM), Luther Singh (FC Copenhagen, Denmark) & Percy Tau (Brighton & Hove Albion, England). — IOL.