Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos named his final squad for his team's first two 2022 World Cup qualifiers on Tuesday. Picture: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images
Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos named his final squad for his team's first two 2022 World Cup qualifiers on Tuesday. Picture: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Hugo Broos likes to share out aloud what he’s really thinking. The Bafana Bafana coach’s penchant for speaking his mind has already got him into trouble on a number of occasions since he arrived in this part of the world a few months ago.

I’ve watched the 69-year-old Belgian engage frankly during his interviews and even reveal information that was not in the public domain.

He happily revealed during an interview on Metro FM a few days ago that Percy Tau was in Egypt to complete his move from English Premier League side Brighton to Al Ahly. The Egyptians had not officially confirmed the capture of Tau’s signature, but Broos casually dropped the information on the radio station.

And lest we forget, he also let the cat out of the bag a few weeks ago when he revealed in an interview with Thabiso Mosia on SAfm that he was speaking to his predecessor, Molefi Ntseki, about a possible return to the national team’s technical staff. The nation’s soccer lovers were not impressed when they heard this as Ntseki had just failed to qualify for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

SA Football Association (Safa) technical committee member Jacob “Buddha” Mathathe was also not amused when he heard the interview and told this columnist they were stunned when they heard Broos disclose this information on radio without following protocols.

Mathathe said at the time that this is a task to be carried out by  Safa, not by the national team coach.

It has been fun and games, and Broos did it again when he  admitted a few days ago that he is still trying to familiarise himself with his players and there have been times when he has got their names wrong. The Belgian got the job in May but never got a chance to properly take in his new surroundings as he had to return home for his second Covid-19 vaccination soon after his appointment.

He must surely be closer to understanding the lay of the land after the encouraging returns of the last few days as he continues to acquaint himself with his charges.

Think about it, folks, the Belgian barely knows his players, yet he has managed to spearhead the team to the summit of Group G after beating favourites Ghana on Monday and earning a credible draw against Zimbabwe away from home on Friday last week.

Imagine what the man could do once he gets to know the players in the squad. Bafana were full value for the point they earned on the road in Zimbabwe and, with a bit of luck, they could have returned home with all the points on offer.

But it is the match against Ghana that will have given long-suffering South Africans plenty of reasons to believe in their national team again after years of heartache. The West Africans arrived in SA with their tails up after beating Ethiopia in their opening match. They were confident of returning home with a full haul of points and oozed confidence ahead of the game.

Very few thought their confidence was misplaced as they were partly responsible for Bafana’s failure to qualify for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

The two sides were in the same Afcon group and the Ghanaians beat Bafana 2-0 at home and then proceeded to hold SA to a costly 1-1 draw at FNB Stadium in March 2021.

They must have believed it would be business as usual on Monday, and things were going along swimmingly until the unthinkable happened with a little under 10 minutes of the match to go. An out-of-sorts Ghana had appeared to be content with the away point, but Bongokuhle Hlongwane changed all that when he scored the winner.

To be honest, Bafana had no business leaving it that late to finally wrap this thing up as Ghana were there for the taking. The South Africans have gained notoriety over the years for creating chances and then failing to make use of the opportunities to wrap up matches.

The sighs of relief could be heard from Musina in Limpopo to Cape Point in the Western Cape when Hlongwane finally put Ghana out of their misery.

Bafana have offered few reasons to celebrate in recent years and if Broos can manage this reversal after only a few weeks into the job, his employers can allow those candid pearls of wisdom to slide.  

• Follow Ntloko on Twitter at @ntlokom

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