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Bafana Bafana: From underdogs to powerhouse

Hugo Broos has built a young, ambitious team for SA’s football future
Author: Mashamose Mokwena
Tue, Feb 27, 2024

Photo by Ulrik Pedersen/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Bafana Bafana coach, Hugo Broos, was hounded when he started his mission of rebuilding the national team. It has been a rollercoaster ride for the Belgium-born trainer, but he has now built a solid team that has brought back the respect.

When he arrived in 2021, he found a team of unambitious and lacklustre players such as Itumeleng Khune, Thulani Serero, Andile Jali, Thulani “Tyson” Hlatshwayo, Sifiso Hlanti, Kermit Erasmus, Bongani Zungu, and Kamohelo Mokotjo, to mention but a few.

He dismantled the team and started with a band of unknown but hard working players keen to make a name for themselves and revive the fortunes of SA as a powerhouse on the continent once again.

Here are some of the players with age on their side and who will still play a big role in the future:

Evidence Makgopa (23)

The Orlando Pirates forward will play a major role in the future and Makgopa is one of Broos’s favourite players. Even his coach at Pirates Jose Riveiro says the lanky striker came back from Afcon more determined and ambitious.

Photo by Visionhaus/Gallo Images

Thapelo Maseko (20)

He has age on his side and his future with Bafana and Mamelodi Sundowns looks rosy. He is tipped to become a future star player for Bafana and he also had an impressive run at Afcon before he got injured.

Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

Mihlali Mayambela (25)

The Cape Town-born forward is tipped for stardom because of his high work rate and eye for goals.

Photo by Didier Lefa/Gallo Images

Njabulo Blom (24)

He was not in the final Afcon squad but Broos has mentioned that Blom is one of his key players going forward. Broos said he only left him out because the US Major League Soccer had been in recess for a long time.

Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Bongokuhle Hlongwane (23)

The hard-running former Maritzburg United goal machine is one of Broos’ favourites. He is gaining invaluable experience in the US where he is plying his trade. Hlongwane is set for a big move to one of the big leagues in Europe.

Photo by Darren Stewart/Gallo Images

Lyle Foster (23)

The 23-year-old Burnley striker has been dealing with mental health illness and as soon as he is back to full fitness, he will be a big player for his country in the coming years.

Photo by Naomi Baker/Gallo Images

Khanyiso Mayo (25)

According to Broos, the PSL leading goal scorer just needs to take his game a notch up. Perhaps a move to one of the PSL big clubs Pirates, Sundowns or Kaizer Chiefs could boost his ability and career.

Photo by EJ Langer/Gallo

Oswin Appollis (22)

The up-and-coming Polokwane City forward is highly rated and his presence at Afcon has boosted his confidence. His ability to one day lead Bafana is undoubted.

Photo by Visionhaus

Jayden Adams (22)

At only 22, the Stellenbosch FC player will gain experience and is one of the best in the country currently. Adams is never shy to express himself with the ball; his best is yet to come in the colours of Bafana.

Photo by Ashley Vlotman