How can Bafana Bafana succeed if local coaches are not on the same page? Asks DEAN WORKMAN.
A strong local league and a strong national team often go hand-in-hand, with the two organisations working together towards a common goal. However, in South Africa, national team head coach Hugo Broos has hit out at the league for their failure to step up to the plate.
Broos has made a positive start to life in South Africa, which is often referred to as a poisoned chalice due to the off-field challenges of the position. However, the outspoken Belgian has faced it head-on and hasn’t been afraid to use the media to get his point across.
The first incident occurred in September 2021 when Broos was denied access to the clash between Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns at the Orlando Stadium for not having a ticket to the game.
‘We had an accreditation of the league, and they said “no, this is not enough, and if I let you in, I will lose my job”. I don’t understand it, we are coaches of the national team and there is a team that doesn’t allow us in the stadium,” he said.
‘And then the most surprising thing is that the chairman Irvin Khoza of Pirates is the vice-president of the South African Football Association. I did not believe it,’ he added.
A month later, Broos and Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Rhulani Mokoena had a public spat when Downs players returned from national duty carrying injuries. Mokoena berated Bafana Bafana for not informing Sundowns or looking at the data in terms of loading and recovery of the players.
With an obvious disconnect between the national team and the PSL, Broos attempted to hold a long-overdue meeting with coaches in the top two flights of South African football. The meeting, however, never materialised.
Speaking to TimesLive in March Broos slammed the PSL for not facilitating the arrangement. ‘I have tried to have a meeting with the PSL coaches. Again, I didn’t succeed and this was a disappointment.
‘I followed the protocols of sending the letters to the league and the procedure is that they are the ones who must send the letters to the clubs, but they didn’t. I asked for a response from the coaches by 16 January and by that time no coach answered.
‘Then I extended the period to 26 January and by 27 January there was no coach who answered. I was furious, I was frustrated, and I cancelled the meeting. It is not the coaches’ fault, it is the league because they didn’t send the letter to the clubs.
‘They only sent the letter on 28 January. It was too late. I am very angry about that because it is not honest.
‘The meeting not taking place doesn’t affect my work but the relationship between me and the coaches is important. They blamed me that I hadn’t had a meeting with them for months and when I want a meeting the league didn’t do what they were supposed to do.
The league failed to respond to calls from the media for a response, while Safa chief executive Tebogo Motlanthe said they have asked for a joint liaison committee meeting and the issue will be discussed there. Without the two entities working together, success for the national team becomes nearly impossible due to the amount of the club football calendar.
England, Germany, Spain and a host of other nations have shown the importance of continuity and communication with local club teams, especially the top clubs in their leagues. While in countries like Brazil, the national team is prioritised above all else.
The hope is that the two organisations can get on the same page sooner rather than later and the outspoken Broos seems like the man for the job. Let’s hope he doesn’t lose patience.