Lyle Lakay (Gallo Images)
Bafana Bafana head coach Hugo Broos has sent a strong message to the players he omitted from his 23-man squad for the upcoming 2022 FIFA Qatar World Cup qualifiers against Ethiopia.
The 69-year-old opted to include the experience of Sifiso Hlanti (31) after calls from fans for a left-footed left-back.
Broos entrusted Sydney Mobbie, a right-back, with the left-back role in both matches against Zimbabwe and Ghana earlier in September.
“As I said, it will be difficult games, and I think I needed a little more experience in the team, for example, Sifiso Hlanti, who has more experience, and we have Terrence Mashego, a young one,” Broos said on SABC Sport.
“So, the team is a little bit more mixed of young and older players than before because these are two important games.
“I’d like to win two times, and then we will be very close to qualifying for Qatar. I think we needed the new players who are there.”
Meanwhile, the Belgium-born coach also ignored fans’ frustration as he did not call up Rivaldo Coetzee and Lyle Lakay.
“I can only select 23 players, and I know those players are good, but it’s not the right moment to select them,” he continued.
“I have other things and plans, but I will see. Today, Hlanti is there. But it is up to them. Again, you need to do be in the Bafana squad.
“I don’t give presents. I’m sorry. And it’s not your name is ‘Mr This’… that does not work with me.
“You have to do something in order to be selected. You have to fight for it.”
Broos also explained his theory on not selecting Luther Singh and Gift Links, who were named in the previous squad.
“Luther Singh is a problem that after the game that his passport was not valid anymore.
“He stayed here ten days before his passport was not valid, and then he went to Copenhagen and had to be in quarantine. He wasn’t in the team last week, and then yesterday he played 10 minutes.
“I think he will not be ready for that game in Ethiopia.”
Broos added: “Gift Links did not do so badly, but I think it was not the right moment for him. He has to improve. But it is a guy with talent.”
South Africa are top of Group G with four points from two games following their goalless away draw to Zimbabwe before beating Ghana 1-0 at FNB Stadium three days later.
With just four fixtures remaining for this round of the qualifications, Bafana will now shift their focus to taking on the East Africans.
Broos and Bafana travel to Ethiopia on Saturday, 9 October (kick-off is at 15:00) before welcoming the same opponents for the return leg at FNB Stadium on Monday, 11 October (18:00).