Broos spoiled for choice in the striking force ahead of Afcon

The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations is forever edging closer, as we are now a month away from the biggest football event on African soil.

All the local and overseas-based African heavyweights will be gathered in west Africa in the city of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, where 24 nations will be contesting for the most sought-after trophy from January 13 to February11.

The likes of Mohamed Salah (Egypt), Sadio Mane (Senegal), Percy Tau (South Africa), Victor Osimhen (Nigeria) and Achraf Hakimi (Morocco), just to name a few, will have the global football fraternity glued to their screens as they grace the Afcon stage.

For the first time in a longtime, Bafana Bafana secured qualification without having to take out their calculators.

They punched above their weight and went as far as topping their Group K ahead of World Cup semi-finalists Morocco.

With the 2026 World Cup qualifiers underway and forming part of their Afcon preparations next month, Bafana coach Hugo Broos will be suffering from a good headache, as he will be spoiled for choice when selecting his trusted strikers to lead the upfront attack.

Sunday World looks at the potential Bafana Bafana forwards to lead the line of attack at the Afcon.

Zakhele Lepasa (Orlando Pirates):

The Orlando Pirates striker started the 2023/24 season like a house on fire, banging in goals left, right and centre.

Lepasa currently has 10 goals in 11 matches in all competitions and the 26-year-old is in pole position to make the final squad that will travel to Ivory Coast next year.

Even through the goal scoring drought he is currently experiencing, Lepasa, like Nyiko Mobbie, has become a Broos favourite due to hard work and athleticism.

Lyle Foster (Burnley FC):

Despite being on the sidelines, and undergoing a special psychological care, it will not overshadow how Foster started life in the English Premier League with Burnley.

Foster has been the go-to guy for Broos in front of goal, as he has banged in four goals in his last six appearances.

Broos will be crossing his fingers that his talisman recovers and gets back to his goal scoring form.

Percy Tau (Al Ahly):

Tau has once again had a positive start for his club Al Ahly – something that puts a smile on Broos’ face.

The well-travelled 29-year-old forward has achieved great honours at club level and will be desperate to inspire his national team back to glory days.

Lebo Mothiba (Strasbourg FC):

Mothiba made a sensational return to the Bafana setup following his impressive run of performance in the French topflight for Strasbourg this season.

He has unfortunately suffered a setback with an injury and missed the two previous World Cup qualifiers but Broos will also expect Mothiba to be fit for the Afcon as he gives the team something different in attack.

Fagrie Lakay (Pyramids):

Lakay has emerged as one of the striking options Hugo Broos will look to for the Afcon as he continues to bang in match winning goals for his side Pyramids in the Egyptian Premier League and the Caf Champions League.

The 23-year-old is raising his hand at a crucial time, with Broos having an injury and goal scoring crises from some of his trusted personnel upfront.

Evidence Makgopa (Orlando Pirates):

At the start of Hugo Broos’ tenure as the Bafana coach, Makgopa was one of the regulars in his selection before he moved to Pirates from Baroka.

Makgopa had struggles with finding game time and ultimately lost his position in the national team, but he has since returned to the fold following a string of convincing performances with the Bucs.

Mihlali Mayambela (Aris Limassol):

One could say that Mayambela has somewhat cemented his place in Broos’ team as he has never missed a call-up since making his Bafana debut.

Mayambela also scored a crucial goal in their 2-1 win over Liberia – a goal that confirmed South Africa’s place in upcoming Afcon.

Bongokuhle Hlongwane (Minnesota United):

Hlongwane is another first-choice forward for Broos.

Despite the 23-year-old not being as impactful as he is expected to be, he will be one of the players to look out for in the future as he continues to impress in the MLS in the United States this season.

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