South Africa

FOOTBALL: Bafana Bafana coach Broos pleads for patience in getting squad up to standard

New Bafana coach Hugo Broos. (Photo: EPA / PETER POWELL)

The Bafana Bafana coach’s merry-go-round continues, and the new man at the helm is promising to bring about mental fortitude in the players. Something which he has identified as lacking. 

The latest coach to try his hand at rejuvenating an ailing senior South African men’s football team is asking for something which so far his predecessors have not been granted: time.

Belgian coach Hugo Broos, who was last week unveiled as the new Bafana Bafana coach by the South African Football Association (Safa) says South Africans must be realistic in their expectations of the national team. More especially considering the latest disappointment of failing to qualify for a major tournament. 

South Africa have only qualified for three of the last seven Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon), and last qualified for a World Cup on merit 19 years ago. 

“I know what will come when we lose. I’m not 25 years old. I have huge experience. But I also know that when you work a lot, there will be success,” said the Belgian speaking at a press conference from Safa’s headquarters on Wednesday. 

“If there is one thing I want to ask from you, it’s patience. We will do everything to be qualified for the World Cup next year. But you have to be realistic also,” he added. 

“We will try to rebuild a successful team. And when you’re rebuilding, there are always moments of weakness. Don’t be angry if we don’t qualify for the 2022 World Cup.

“But if we don’t qualify for the 2023 Afcon, you can kill me. We need to qualify for that. Then the 2026 World Cup has to be a must as well.”

Should Broos succeed in doing enough to be granted the time he is asking for, he will become the first coach since the Afcon-winning Clive Barker to be in charge of the national team beyond two years. 

Barker’s success, built from the ground up following South Africa’s readmission to the international arena after apartheid was abolished, came two years after he signed his contract in 1994. 

Broos is seeking similar patience, from South Africans, from the media and from his new employer Safa.

Speaking on what he thinks is needed to galvanise the players, Broos said from what he has seen of South Africa’s matches in the past, there seems to be a mental block in players, despite their evident qualities as footballers. 

“We have quality players. But you can have football quality, but when things are not right psychologically, you can’t win a game. So, this is something we have to work on,” the 69-year-old told journalists. 

The former Cameron coach also revealed the name of one of his two assistants. Broos is to have one international assistant, who he revealed to be Čedomir Janevski.

The 59-year-old is the coach of Cyprian side Olympiakos Nicosia.

“My Belgian assistant will be Cedomir Janevski — he is not here at the moment, he is still in Cyprus, where he will be in the cup final next week,” said Broos. 

“He’s from Macedonia but was staying for 35 years in Belgium, played in Belgium at Club Brugge.”

On his local assistant, Broos said talks were still ongoing to try to find the preferred candidate, although he could not divulge how far the process is at the moment. 

The coach also confirmed that Safa is in the process of lining up friendlies for Bafana Bafana in June, where and his assistants will be able to make their first assessments of the work that lies ahead. DM

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