Bafana coach Hugo Broos’ preliminary Afcon squad raises eyebrows

There were a few eyebrow-raising surprises when Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos named his preliminary squad for the forthcoming Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in June that will be trimmed to manageable 23-men strong side.

The qualifiers get under way with Bafana pitted against Morocco away at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium, a multi-purpose venue in Rabat, Morocco on Thursday, June 9 before the South Africans host Zimbabwe at the FNB Stadium on Monday, June 13.

Broos has included Orlando Pirates striker Thembinkosi Lorch, who has been out of action for more than a year at his club due to a shoulder injury.

Lorch last featured for Pirates in the season-opening Carling Cup jamboree early in August 2021. Also back in contention is Egyptian giants Al Ahly forward Percy Tau, who was also forced to miss the two friendlies Bafana played against Guinea and France in March due to injury, but has been key recently in seeing his Egyptian side qualify for the CAF Champions League through his assists.

Perhaps paying back the Buccaneers for going all the way to the final of the CAF Confederation Cup, the Belgian coach has a total of six Pirates players in his 37-man preliminary selection. They include Lorch, Goodman Mosele, Innocent Maela, Fortune Makaringe, Bandile Shandu and Thabang Monare.

After Bafana missed out on the 2022 Afcon held in Cameroon in January under fired coach Molefi Ntseki, current mentor Broos has always been optimistic and in fact confident that Bafana will make the cut this time by booking a place for the Ivory Coast edition of the tournament in 2023.

Bafana preliminary squad

Goalkeepers: Ronwen Williams (SuperSport United), Veli Mothwa (AmaZulu), Bruce Bvuma (Kaizer Chiefs), Brandon Petersen (Kaizer Chiefs)

Defenders: Nyiko Mobbie (Sekhukhune United), Khuliso Mudau (Mamelodi Sundowns), Grant Kekana (Mamelodi Sundowns), Lyle Lakay (Mamelodi Sundowns), Aubrey Modiba (Mamelodi Sundowns), Bandile Shandu (Orlando Pirates), Innocent Maela (Orlando Pirates), Thibang Phete (Belenenses, Portugal), Siyabonga Ngezana (Kaizer Chiefs), Taariq Fielies (Cape Town City FC), Terrence Mashego (Cape Town City FC), Luke Fleurs (SuperSport United), Thabani Zuke (Golden Arrows), Athenkosi Mcaba (Stellenbosch FC)

Midfielders: Spephele Sithole (Belenenses, Portugal), Goodman Mosele (Orlando Pirates), Thabang Monare (Orlando Pirates), Fortune Makaringe (Orlando Pirates), Yusuf Maart (Sekhukhune United), Lebohang Maboe (Mamelodi Sundowns), Phathutshedzo Nange (Kaizer Chiefs), Jesse Donn (SuperSport United), Mduduzi Mdantsane (Cape Town City FC), Thapelo Morena (Mamelodi Sundowns)

Strikers: Thembinkosi Lorch (Orlando Pirates), Ashley du Preez (Stellenbosch FC), Keagan Dolly (Kaizer Chiefs), Evidence Makgopa (Baroka FC), Khanyisa Mayo (Cape Town City FC), Fagrie Lakay (Pyramids, Egypt), Lyle Foster (Westerlo, Belgium), Bongokuhle Hlongwane (Minnesota FC, USA), Percy Tau (Al Ahly, Egypt), Pule Mmodi (Golden Arrows).

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