South African football officials seem reluctant to accept that there is not enough raw material for Bafana Bafana’s operations, which cannot be good for the future.
This impression stems from the fact that over the past fortnight, the national team’s very experienced coach, Hugo Broos, has sent out mixed vibes about the ability of the domestic Premier Soccer League (PSL) to feed Bafana with enough quality players. The 70-year-old Belgian tactician openly complained — after his team’s 2-1 loss to Morocco at the start of the qualifying programme for Afcon 2023 in Rabat on June 9 — that the PSL’s level of play is unsatisfactory.
He said that this subsequently makes the work of national coaches harder when they are faced with teams like Morocco and Ghana which have players based in more respected leagues on the European continent.
This understandable cry about the PSL’s shortcomings was also linked to the fact that Bafana was hammered 5-0 by France in Lille in March, in a friendly match that should have helped with preparation for the competitive game in Morocco. But, as truthful as Broos’ words were, he was made to eat them at the weekend, when he “offered” an official apology during a meeting of the SA Football Association (Safa) in Gauteng.
It must be said, though, that even if Broos had not made that initial remark about the mediocre standard of the PSL, the fact that Bafana has failed to qualify for major tournaments on several occasions cannot be hidden.
With this under-achievement persisting, it would arguably have been more prudent for Safa to speed up plans to improve Bafana’s fortunes than for its officials to get excited about their foreign coach having apparently pricked SA sensitivities with his very realistic gripe about the PSL.
It is not beyond imagination that Broos will be measuring his words very carefully going forward, and this will only delay further the much-needed rejuvenation of the national team.
An inability to face the truth is certainly not going to help Bafana score more.