Shaun Bartlett backs Broos despite wave of complaints

Johannesburg – Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos is on a mission of rebuilding and rejuvenating the SA senior national team and his youth policy will be tested when they face Ethiopia in two back-to-back matches, starting this Saturday.

The matches will take place on Saturday, October 9 at Bahir Dar International Stadium in Ethiopia, with the return leg set for FNB Stadium three days later.

SA have done admirably well in their two opening matches in Group G.

They played a draw against Zimbabwe away and toiled to a 1-0 win over Ghana in Johannesburg, resulting in Bafana leading the group on four points.

Ethiopia and Ghana are second and third respectively on three points apiece after recording single victories.

Zimbabwe anchors the log table at the bottom with a single point in their two outings. Only the group winners will advance to the next round of the qualifying stage.

The six big points at stake are vital in Bafana’s quest, hence the backlash from the supporters that experienced campaigners Lyle Lakay, Rivaldo Coetzee and Themba “Mshishi” Zwane should have been selected.

Broos left the trio out of the squad, but the Belgian mentor was cool when he absorbed the pressure and explained that his major focus was to build a team for the future with much younger players.

JOHANESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA- JUNE 18: Shaun Bartlett of South Africa is seen during the 2006 World Cup and African Cup of Nations Qualifying match between South Africa and Ghana at FNB Stadium, on June 18, 2005 in Johanesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Bafana legend Shaun Bartlett told Sunday World that there were lots of concerns about the squad selection in the first rounds of matches and that the coach must not be distracted from his vision.

“We needed to rebuild the team at some stage,” said Bartlett.

“We have to keep on supporting the team because I believe they are on the right track. It’s not going to be easy, and they will grow together in the team.

It is exciting and looking positive. It was a good start and they have not conceded a goal yet. “It will be interesting how the coach approaches the two matches. Will he be defensive or go for the kill in the away match?

The boys must just stay focused, they are not only representing themselves, but they are also doing it for 60-million South Africans.”

Broos is persisting with younglings such as Terrence Mashego, Ethan Brooks, Teboho Mokoena, Goodman Mosele, Evidence Makgopa, Bongokuhle Hlongwane and this augurs well for the future. Hlongwane netted the solitary goal against the Black Stars of Ghana.

The coach explained when he announced his team: “I’d like to win two times against Ethiopia and then we will be very close to qualifying for Qatar.

“I think we needed the new players who are in the team.

So, the team is a little bit more mixed of young and older players than before because these are two important games.

As I said, it will be difficult games, and I think I needed a little more experience in the team.”

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