Bafana Bafana head coach Hugo Broos talks during the South African national soccer team press conference at Dobsonville Stadium in Johannesburg on October 5 2021. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/LEFTY SHIVAMBU
Bafana Bafana head coach Hugo Broos talks during the South African national soccer team press conference at Dobsonville Stadium in Johannesburg on October 5 2021. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/LEFTY SHIVAMBU

A visibly angry Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos has said some people and clubs do not have the national team’s best interests at heart. That was after he was forced to withdraw Thabiso Kutumela from the travelling squad.

The Belgian coach said he made the call to release Kutumela after his club, Mamelodi Sundowns, decided to have the striker vaccinated before reporting for national team camp at the weekend.

A frustrated Broos briefed the media at Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto on Tuesday where the team is preparing before flying to Ethiopia on Thursday.

Bafana take on Ethiopia in crucial consecutive 2022 Qatar World Cup qualifiers on Saturday in Bahir Dar and in Johannesburg three days later. The Belgian said Kutumela’s withdrawal has thrown his plans into a tailspin.

“I am having a feeling a little bit that some people in this country do not want Bafana to become a successful team,” said the 69-year-old Broos.

The Belgian said he is not against clubs’ vaccination drives, but questioned why Kutumela had to take his jab a few hours before arriving in camp.

“You can’t organise for players to get vaccinated during the national team camp. The Fifa rules say after the last games the clubs have to release the players and no club activity is possible during that Fifa break but Sundowns organised for Thabiso to be vaccinated.”

Broos said the fact that Kutumela was jabbed a day before he was supposed to join his teammates in camp shows that authorities in SA have little regard for Bafana’s interests.

Further blow

“Second, which is the most important thing why I was angry, if you get vaccinated, you can have symptoms and it is possible that Thabiso, today or tomorrow can have symptoms like flu, fever or a cough and so I can’t take him with me to Ethiopia.”

Kutumela’s withdrawal is a further blow to Broos after the non-arrival of Orlando Pirates central midfielder Goodman Mosele, and the withdrawal due to injury of Sundowns centre-back Mosa Lebusa.

Broos said the 21-year-old Mosele “absconded” after the youngster failed to report to camp on Monday, a day after playing a full match for his club.

Broos said on Tuesday that he still does not have an explanation from his club for Mosele’s absence.

Broos said he has never seen “something like this in my life, a player who does not come to camp”.

They still do not know what happened.

“Goodman did not leave us a message and he is unreachable. We tried to phone him ... we had to replace him.

“It was a big surprise for me that a player does not want to come to camp of a national team.”

Club level

Broos said he will speak to the clubs and coaches to try find common ground.

“I have a feeling a little that club level in this country is more important than Bafana Bafana but clubs have to understand that, directly, they are advantaged if it is good with Bafana.

“The value of the players will increase when you have a good national team and I know what I am talking about because in my country, 15 years ago, nobody wanted Belgian players and now everybody wants a Belgian player [because their national team is doing well].”

Broos said SA football has deteriorated to such an extent that the country is not spoken about in discussions at head tables in Europe.

“Now in Europe when we are speaking about African football we are speaking about Senegal, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Ghana and never about SA.

“Who is interested in sponsoring SA football right now? There is no interest.”

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