Jonty Mark

By Jonty Mark

Football Editor

Broos happy Bafana’s overseas-based stars are starting to shine

'It is a very good thing that our overseas players are now playing in their teams,' said the Bafana head coach.

Hugo Broos is delighted Bafana Bafana now have overseas-based players getting plenty of game-time at their respective clubs, as he prepares to take on Liberia in two crucial Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers at the end of the month.

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Bafana will play Liberia at Orlando Stadium on March 24 and in Monrovia on March 28, with two wins guaranteeing them qualification for the 2023 Afcon finals in the Ivory Coast, set to be played in January 2024.

Broos has complained in the past about the fact that South Africans plying their trade abroad have not been able to get into the team, even leaving the likes of Percy Tau out of his squad, when the former Sundowns man was suffering from a loss of form as well as fitness.

But Tau is now back playing and starring at Al Ahly in Egypt, while Lyle Foster is getting opportunities in the English Championship with Burnley, recently scoring his first goal in English football. Bongokuhle Hlongwane has started the season well with US Major League Soccer side Minnesota United, as has Njabulo Blom with MLS outfit St Louis City.

Midfielder Luke Le Roux is a regular in the Swedish top flight with Varberg and midfielder Sphephelo Sithole is also still getting opportunities at Belenenses in Portugal.

Added to the in-form local-based players in the squad, especially those from an on-fire Mamelodi Sundowns, this has the look of the strongest Bafana squad for some time, as they look to grab six points against Liberia.

“It is a very good thing that our overseas players are now playing in their teams,” said Broos.

“We know that the competitions there, most of them, not all of them, are stronger than the competitions here. They will progress a lot. (Overseas) it is another level to the PSL, even to the (Caf) Champions League. We need players to have that experience of intense games.”

Foster has done particularly well in sealing a move to Burnley, where he is working under the guidance of Vincent Kompany, a fellow Belgian who Broos knows well.

No Kompany contact

Broos coached Kompany when he was a young defender at Anderlecht, though he says he hasn’t spoken to him yet about Foster.

“I had contact with Lyle in the beginning (when he moved to Burnley) but I don’t want to call him every week,” added Broos.

“Let him adapt to another way of football. I didn’t speak with Kompany until now … we will see how he progresses. If there is a problem I can call Kompany, I know him well, I put him in the first team at Anderlecht when he was 17, but now is not the time for that.

“At the moment he (Kompany) is bringing him (Foster) in slowly and that is the only way to do it. There is a big difference between Belgium and now (the English Championship).

“I saw the game where he (Foster) scored on Saturday against Wigan, it was half rugby, half football! Burnley are playing football and they are so good that they win all their games, but Wigan! (It was) unbelievable! But it is good for Lyle, he will progress and I am happy with how Kompany is bringing him in (to the team).”  

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