Bafana Bafana coach, Hugo Broos announced his 35-man preliminary squad to face Liberia in two crucial Afcon qualifiers, which will be played on the 24th of March at home, and on the 28th in Liberia.
While the likes of Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates are well represented, the other giant of South African football, Kaizer Chiefs, only have one player in goalkeeper Brandon Peterson in this 35-man squad!
Having only a single player in the national squad is close to a complete disaster for a team of Amakhosi’s calibre, and their assistant coach, Dillon Sheppard agrees that they have to do something about the situation.
“We’ve got to work hard to improve our players… our players can be up there for selection. Yes, we will work harder to make sure that he ( Broos) does select our players,” Sheppard told the media at the Nedbank Cup’s press conference at the PSL offices in Parktown on Wednesday, as quoted by Sowetan Live.
“We are all here for the nation and it’s up to the coach to select the players he feels are going to make the nation proud. Of course as a coach, I would like to see our players in the national team but the national coach has to make the selection and we’ve got to support that.”
In previous Bafana squads, Amakhosi have had a healthy representation, with Ashley Du Preez, Kgaogelo Sekgota, Yusuf Maart, Njabulo Blom (Now at St Louis City), and Keagan Dolly all having been called up at one stage or the other.
The biggest question is, what has gone wrong with these players?
Are Du Preez, Sekgota, and Maart suddenly not good enough for Bafana?
Ashley Du Preez
The Amakhosi speedy forward had a nightmare of a debut for the national team against Botswana last year at the FNB stadium, which earned him a lot of criticism, and left a question mark over his head about whether he is good enough for the national team.
He hasn’t been setting the scene alight at his club either, with five goals and two assists in his name from 21 games across competitions.
An average of one goal in five matches doesn’t do the striker any favors when it comes to national team selection.
Broos might have been justified to leave the striker out of his squad.
Sekgota has lost his place in the Chiefs starting line up, despite a promising start to the season, which earned him his call-up to the national team.
Even the much publicized comparisons between him and Monnapule Saleng have died down, with Saleng continuing to dish out MOTM performances for Orlando Pirates.
Sekgota’s statistics do him no favours either. The winger hasn’t scored a goal for Amakhosi in 24 matches this season, with just one assist to his name.
Maart has been the ever-present in the Kaizer Chiefs starting line-up.
The central midfielder amassed 24 appearances for Amakhosi, scoring one goal.
He is one of the better performers in the team, with a bit of consistency in his game, but it appears he hasn’t done enough to catch Broos’s attention again.
What could have worked against Maart is the competition for places in the middle for Bafana, with the likes of Tebogo Mokoena and Miguel Timm on top of their game.
But the question remains, is he good enough?
Also Read: Is there discrimination against foreign players at Kaizer Chiefs?
There are two other players who could have done enough to earn national team call-ups at Chiefs, and that is the experienced duo of Sifiso Hlanti and Keagan Dolly.
Hlanti has been doing well for the Glamour Boys, having managed 20 appearances and two goals.
At 32- years-old, age might be one of the factors working against him, especially considering the demands of the left-back position.
As for Keagan Dolly, who is 30-years-old, inconsistency might be the main factor for his omission.
Although he has scored four goals, and added four assists in 24 matches, his performances have not been too convincing in some of the matches.
The situation Amakhosi find themselves in is embarrassing for a big club, surely there is a glaring lack of quality in their team, but there is something they can do about it, and that is to look at the current Bafana preliminary squad list for possible signings to add quality to their ranks.
Magerman is a quality midfielder who has got his groove back under Gavin Hunt at SuperSport United.
The Sundowns loanee might find it hard to make his way back to his parent club, considering the quality they have in midfield.
A permanent move to a bigger club like Kaizer Chiefs can be a tempting prospect for the midfielder.
Mayo has the talent, the charisma, and the confidence that makes it hard to imagine him not doing well at Amakhosi, alongside the likes of Mduduzi Shabalala.
Both Magerman and Mayo are just 24-years-old, the right age for Chiefs who are on a rebuilding process.
And they can deliver the goods!