Jonty Mark

By Jonty Mark

Football Editor

Bafana captain Williams sends ‘thoughts and prayers’ to absent Foster

'We hope everything will go well for him and that he can return to doing what he does best,' said the Bafana captain.

Bafana Bafana captain Ronwen WillIams has sent a message of support to Lyle Foster, the Bafana striker who is taking some time away from the game as he struggles with his mental health.

English Premier League side Burnley announced last week that Foster was getting the support he needs, until he can return to the first team. And Bafana head coach Hugo Broos, after talking to Burnley and their head coach Vincent Kompany, did not name Foster in his final 23-man squad for the upcoming 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifiers against Benin and Rwanda.

Bafana play Benin at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday and then travel to play Rwanda away from home on November 21.

“To Lyle Foster, we miss him, he is in our thoughts and prayers, and we hope everything will go well for him and that he can return to doing what he does best, which is playing football,” said Williams at a press conference at the High Performance Centre in Pretoria on Monday.

Williams, meanwhile, hopes the experience his club side, Mamelodi Sundowns, gained from winning the inaugural Caf African Football League can help heading into these two important World Cup qualifiers .

Sundowns beat Petro Atletico in the quarterfinals, Al Ahly in the semifinals, and Wydad Casablanca in the final, in games played back-to-back over two legs.

“Obviously we learned so much playing in the AFL, it was very tough playing every three or four days, you need to be mentally prepared, especially for long travels … we (Bafana) are facing a similar challenge now, playing at home and then away. It is for us to make sure we recover well.”

The Bafana captain added that there will be no excuses from the players in terms of any tiredness from the amount of games they have already played this season.

“We don’t need to look for excuses, everyone is tired, but we get paid to do a job and it is for us to be mentally focused,” added Williams.

‘A difficult camp’

Bafana head coach Hugo Broos, however, did express his concern about the amount of football Sundowns and Pirates players have had to play of late.

“It is a difficult camp, when you see what the Sundowns players have done over the last six weeks, and also the Pirates players, they have had one days rest (sometimes) from one camp to another.,” said Broos.

“It is not the same camp as others, most important for us will be having players on Saturday and Tuesday who are recuperated and fresh from the kick off. We will train but the intensity of training will be very low.”  

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