Safa must guard against scepticism replacing Bafana optimism

HUGO Broos’ future as Bafana Bafana coach keeps looking bleaker. | BackpagePix

HUGO Broos’ future as Bafana Bafana coach keeps looking bleaker. | BackpagePix

Published Mar 16, 2024


FOLLOWING Bafana Bafana’s surprisingly superb Afcon campaign a frisson of optimism swept through the ranks of South Africa’s football fraternity.

However, a few days ago Bafana coach Hugo Broos laid bare his frustration in a no-holds-barred account at the time of the announcement of the national squad to play in Algeria next.

When you read between the lines, there is reason to believe that his position appears increasingly tenuous. If these fears are not adequately addressed soon, the frisson of optimism will soon give way to an air of scepticism.

Topping the list of Broos’ concerns is his time away from home. It is strange though that as a seasoned coach who has held down positions in several parts of the globe he did not know how time-consuming the position would be. On reflection though, it was a matter that should have been decided on at the time of his appointment.

Broos has assured that this concern has been addressed after he met with Safa president Danny Jordaan. As a result, he will no longer be away for periods of about 10 weeks or more. He will also be able to have more time with his grandchildren.

Broos’ next real concern is the lack of co-operation of the country’s professional league, the Premier Soccer League (PSL). The PSL supplies the bulk of the national squad and co-operation, as well as consideration, are vital for the wellbeing of the team.

Broos has, for the umpteenth time, asked for a meeting with the PSL hierarchy and coaches. The hierarchy makes crucial decisions. For example, they decide when players are released for national training camps or when domestic competitions need to be suspended so that national squad players have a few days rest ahead of camps.

Meeting the coaches would allow Broos to tell them how the national team will play and how he plans to utilise their players. The importance of this could be underplayed. There have been cases where lesser-fancied players have done well for Bafana. The Orlando Pirates duo Evidence Makgopa and Zakhele Lepasa are examples of how Broos boosted their profiles by giving them opportunities after they enjoyed limited game time at the club.

The stand-off between the PSL and Safa has been going for years and there is no sign that the spat will end any time soon. Somehow, Safa has promised Broos that the meeting with the PSL and coaches will take place – by some miracle.

Even if you are the world’s greatest optimist, this meeting between the PSL coaches and Broos will not happen. There is so much bad blood between the two organisations it is hard to believe that an attempt to arrange a meeting will even see the light of day.

This lack of contact with the PSL has been a massive issue for Broos and the primary gripe when he said he considered his future in South African football after Afcon.

There is also the problem of clubs withholding their players’ services because of a conflict of interest. Instead of releasing a player, they find an excuse to declare the player unavailable for national team duty.

With all these ails tormenting Broos and the national team one wonders if it will ever come to be a case of the straw that broke the camel’s back – sooner than later.