Hugo Broos says it is still possible Themba Zwane and Keagan Dolly could return to the Bafana Bafana squad next month, when South Africa play two crucial 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifiers against Zimbabwe and Ghana.
Broos has done remarkably well with an inexperienced Bafana side to top World Cup qualifying Group G with just two games remaining, with only the group winners heading into the play-offs that will decide the final five places in Qatar 2022.
Dolly and Zwane, however, two extremely well-travelled internationals, have raised their hands of late, with the former surging back to full fitness and starring in Kaizer Chiefs’ 4-0 thumping of Chippa United last weekend, while Zwane showed his importance to Mamelodi Sundowns again with a brace in their Caf Champions League tie in the Congo on Sunday.
In an interview with Phakaaathi, Broos made the point that much of his squad selection up to now has been based simply on the players he has been able to see.
“You have to know I started here with nothing,” said Broos.
“I came here at a bad moment, at the end of the season. You couldn’t see games any more, the league was finished.
“Luckily there was the Cosafa Cup and the Olympics, so I saw those, and already had much information. Helman (Mkhalele, Bafana assistant coach) also helped me a lot in the first months. He told me about players, their mentality, everything, even then we didn’t have so much. So the first selection was ‘ok, we’ll take this one, and this one, and we will see.
“So now we try to improve, we are at league games every week. Yesterday, we were in Durban (for Arrows v Sundowns) to see players we didn’t know, that we didn’t see … before. The door is not shut for anyone. The day I want a better player, I will take them and we did that in the last squad with Mose Lebusa (though he was ultimately injured) and Sifiso Hlanti.
“In every camp we evaluate the team and say ‘ok, there we have to have a bit more quality.’ Those names (Dolly and Zwane), we are following, so who knows, maybe they will be in the squad (for Zimbabwe and Ghana).”
Broos, meanwhile, admits to being pleasantly surprised with the success he has had so far with a young squad made up mainly of players from the DStv Premiership.
“Yes it is a surprise for me. We started in September with a new group, a young group, When you work with youngsters you have to be patient. But after the Zimbabwe result (Bafana drew 0-0 in Zimbabwe) it went very quickly. The win over Ghana gave the team a boost in confidence. And I was even more happy with the two games against Ethiopia (Bafana won 3-1 away and 1-0 at home last month).
“We didn’t win playing good football, but we won with character and mentality. This is something I heard when I came to South Africa, that the Bafana team didn’t have the mentality (to win).”