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Hugo Broos tapped to resuscitate Bafana

Experienced Belgian Hugo Broos has been appointed as the new coach of the South African national side. In an announcement from SABC Radiopark on Wednesday, the South African Football Association (Safa) said it had combed through more than 200 CVs before settling on their man.

The decision ends a month of rabid speculation that has seen a number of high-profile names — from Benni McCarthy to Pitso Mosimane — linked to the post.

Broos’s immediate target will be clear: rebuild an ailing team to give South Africans a Bafana they can be proud of. Predecessor Molefi Ntseki failed in that mission, paying for it with his job after his team failed to qualify for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals. 

Safa’s selection suggests it has changed tack after that disappointment. Whereas Ntseki was a relatively unknown coach who had come through local ranks, the 68-year-old Broos is an established tactician, who has spent decades at some of the highest footballing levels.

A former player with multiple European titles to his name, Broos graduated to the dugout in the late eighties. He went on to take charge of a number of sides in his home country, winning the Belgian manager of the year award on four occasions.

But it is his stint with Cameroon that would have most appealed to Safa. Broos took charge of a young Indomitable Lions outfit in 2016 and led them to Africa Cup of Nations glory only a year later. The hope is that he will be able to repeat the feat in a country desperate to reach the peak it last ascended in 1996.

Speaking on Zoom, Broos made no qualms about the need to overhaul Bafana and introduce fresh blood into the setup.

“It’s always been a country in which I would like to work. Today, I am very proud and happy to be there,” he began.

“This is the moment to rebuild a new team in South Africa. I was a little bit surprised when I saw the selections in the last games. There were so many players of 30 and more. I think we have to rebuild a younger team. Take the example of Cameroon: when you work with young players they are hungry and motivated,” Broos said.

“After South Africa didn’t qualify for Afcon, this is the moment to start and rebuild a younger team.”

Broos added that he will look to land in the country as soon as possible to begin preparations for the upcoming 2022 World Cup qualifiers in June.

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Luke Feltham

Luke Feltham runs the Mail & Guardian's sports desk. He was previously the online day editor.

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