Bafana Bafana's biggest absentees in the provincial squad
By Neo Poho
Bafana Bafana head coach Hugo Broos has picked his Bafana Bafana preliminary squad to take on Liberia later this month with only one Kaizer Chiefs player being selected, while there are Pirates and Sundowns players aplenty in the 35 man preliminary squad.
Although Broos has called up the best players at his disposal, a squad that sees 10 players from Mamelodi Sundowns including youngster Cassius Mailula, the selection has raised a few eyebrows with a couple of players that have rose to the occasion in the league so far seeing themselves omitted from the squad.
Among some of the high profile names that have been omitted from the squad is youngster Mduduzi Shabalala, the 19 year old Kaizer Chiefs midfielder has been the most talked about talent at Naturena for the longest time ever since he made his senior team debut in the DSTV Premiership last year.
Shabalala has been impressive for Amakhosi contributing positively to the way coach Arthur Zwane is trying to improve the Naturena side tactically when attacking and building up momentum when being offensive.
With his talent being undeniable and evident to all, Shabalala's inclusion in the squad that has Mailula and Lyle Foster would have truly sparked a new dawn for Bafana Bafana.
It goes without saying that Broos is an advocate for fresh and young talent hence I believe the inclusion of Shabalala would have been a great addition to squad because the sooner Shabalala gets exposed to the international stage for Bafana Bafana, the better.
Looking at the forwards department of the squad, I believe Bafana can still use the services of Bradley Grobler.
Fresh from scoring his 100th goal in the PSL era across all competitions and becoming just the sixth player in history to achieve that feat, Grobler is still a top-flight player in South Africa although he is 35 years old, but he knows where the back of the net is and that’s a valuable skill especially if Bafana want someone who can score goals.
Although he has just returned from injury but Thembinkosi Lorch is a quality player that can still offer a lot for Bafana Bafana going forward, in his comeback fixture the 29 year old managed to provide an assist and also score a goal, something Broos and his chargers need against a difficult Liberian side.
Al Bataeh's midfielder Thibang Phete is another addition Broos should have considered particularly looking into someone that is useful and versatile in the middle of the park.
Phete's commanding presence in the centre of the park is something that will help Broos to overcome some of the African teams who have tremendous physical strength, something Phete also has and can use effectively.
Lastly with the likes of Zakhele Lepasa and Khanyiso Mayo included in the squad, I certainly believe Broos should have also considered Lebo Mothiba.
The Strasbourg forward remains one of the most high-profile South African players still to be overlooked by the Belgian boss.
The 27 year old is a man for the big occasions and history speaks for itself as in 2019 during the Africa Cup of Nations qualification match against Seychelles, he became the first player to score in three consecutive matches for South Africa from debut.
His goal also contributed towards the nation recording its largest ever victory with the match ending 6–0 in favour of South Africa.
Mothiba is a force to be reckoned with as he provides some depth in the national squad whether he is on or off the ball, his ability to score goals and also provide assists is key to the success of the team especially in such important matches.
With the Bafana mentor still to trim down the squad to 23 players ahead of their training camp, which commences on Sunday, 19 March it will be interesting to see who makes it and who falls out.