Thursday, 19 August 2021 14:18

Broos names preliminary Bafana Bafana squad for WC qualifiers.

Staff Reporter.

Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos kept to his promise of an emphasis on youth, naming a 31-man preliminary squad for the team’s first two 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

Broos takes charge of his first two matches against Zimbabwe in Harare on Friday, September 3 (kickoff 3pm), and Ghana at FNB Stadium on Monday, September 6 (kickoff 6pm). A final squad reduced in size is set to be named in about two weeks.

He named interesting defensive prospects Thibang Phete (Belenenses, Portugal), Thabani Dube, Njabulo Ngcobo (both Kaizer Chiefs) and Sibusiso Mabiliso (AmaZulu).

The midfield, especially, had an emphasis on youth from the coach who won the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon with a young team missing many front-line stars.

These included Kobamelo Kodisang (Braga B, Portugal), Sipho Mbule (Supersport United), Teboho Mokoena (Supersport United), Mothobi Mvala and Sphelele Mkhulise (both Mamelodi Sundowns). Also young prospects for the middle of the park were Sphephelo Sithole (Belenenses, Portugal), Njabulo Blom (Kaizer Chiefs), Ethan Brooks (TS Galaxy) and Yusuf Maart (Sekhukhune United).

The forwards, too, included young prospects Bongokuhle Hlongwane (Maritzburg United), Gift Links (Aarhus, Denmark)  and Evidence Makgopa (Baroka FC).

"We have to prepare a young and victorious team and qualify for the World Cup in Qatar, "Broos said.

"But we have a tough group with three teams who qualified for the Nations Cup next year, so it can be that we don’t qualify [for Qatar]. But we will try to do everything that we can to qualify.

"And if we don’t qualify, I think these games will be a fantastic experience for the players and prepare us well to qualify for the Nations Cup in 2023."

The 69-year-old addressed the media during a press conference on Thursday afternoon where he announced a 31-man preliminary squad for the two upcoming fixtures, with many from the COSAFA Cup squad rewarded for their success.

Bafana Bafana's 31-man squad for the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers

Goalkeepers: Ronwen Williams (SuperSport United), Veli Mothwa (AmaZulu), Bruce Bvuma (Kaizer Chiefs) & Sifiso Mlungwana (Golden Arrows)

Defenders: Nyiko Mobbie (Mamelodi Sundowns), Rushine De Reuck (Mamelodi Sundowns), Thapelo Morena (Mamelodi Sundowns), Siyanda Xulu (Haopel Tel Aviv, Israel), Thibang Phete (Belenenses, Portugal), Thabani Dube (Kaizer Chiefs), Njabulo Ngcobo (Kaizer Chiefs), Mosa Lebusa (Mamelodi Sundowns), Sibusiso Mabiliso (Kaizer Chiefs) & Innocent Maela (Orlando Pirates)

Midfielders: Kobamelo Kodisang (FC Braga B, Portugal), Sipho Mbule (Supersport United), Teboho Mokoena (Supersport United), Mothobi Mvala (Mamelodi Sundowns), Sphelele Mkhulise (Mamelodi Sundowns), Sphephelo Sithole (Belenenses FC, Portugal), Njabulo Blom (Kaizer Chiefs) Ethan Brooks (TS Galaxy), Siyethemba Sithebe (AmaZulu) & Yusuf Maart (Sekhukhune United)

Forwards: Thabiso Kutumela (Mamelodi Sundowns), Bongokuhle Hlongwane (Maritzburg United), Gift Links (Aarhus, Denmark), Evidence Makgopa (Baroka FC), Victor Letsoalo (Royal AM), Luther Singh (FC Copenhagen, Denmark) & Percy Tau (Brighton & Hove Albion, England).