Mamelodi Sundowns’ presence is finally dominating the national team, as Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos selected 10 players from the reigning Dstv Premiership champions in his preliminary squad.
The Bafana coach made his announcement on Tuesday, March 7 for back-to-back Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Liberia on March 24 (Orlando Stadium, Johannesburg) and March 28 (away in Monrovia). Broos’ 35-man squad is still due to be trimmed down to 23 players.
In an exclusive interview with ThisIsFootball.Africa, former Kaizer Chiefs player Sergio Dos Santos has alluded that the selections coach Broos has made were based on form.
“Well, I think that it is very important for the people to realise that this is not about where the players are coming from, this is all about are the players good enough to possibly be in the Bafana Bafana squad, and when you look at the list of the players that have been selected from Mamelodi Sundowns, they are virtually all very capable players, they are doing a fantastic job for Sundowns on a weekly basis,” Dos Santos told ThisIsFootball.Africa.
Sundowns were on a 15-game winning streak until they drew 1-1 with Stellenbosch FC recently, which speaks of the club’s brilliant form all-round.
“Quite a few of them have already represented Bafana Bafana, so I am not surprised at all that there are 10 players from Mamelodi Sundowns because currently, they are the team that seems to be doing the business in the league, in the Champions League and so forth. I think that the reward they are receiving is from somebody who understands what this is all about and feels that those players are worthy to be in his squad,” Dos Santos added.
Santos believes that even though coach Broos selected so many Sundowns players, there are other players who will fight for their places.
“Also, we must not forget that there are 35 players in the squad, so it does not mean just because there are 10 players from Mamelodi Sundowns that won’t be picked because I very much doubt that will be the case.
“Although I do believe that each and every one of them, from Rowen Williams way down deserves to be in the team there is no doubt about that, and I hope he will build a base of players that he can work with and as time goes by, he will know which players are possibly good enough or not.”
Ronwen Williams and Themba Zwane are regulars in the national team and two of the in-form players in the league. Williams has played 19 games, conceded six goals and kept 14 clean sheets in the Dstv Premiership. Though, he had already cemented his selection in the team. Themba Zwane has been one of the standout players, having played 19 games, and scored two goals and three assists. Despite initially not selecting the player, Broos now appreciates how Zwane brings quality to the squad and the experience that he needs.
Not only has coach Broos selected experience but he has also brought in young players to balance the team with Cassius Mailula, Teboho Mokwena and Siphelele Mkhulise. The standout of the youngsters that coach Broos has selected is Mailula. The 21-year-old Mailula gave coach Broos no other choice but to be selected in the squad. Mailula is one of the in-form players in the league, with eight goals in the Dstv Premiership and three assists. The youngster has been hot property, helping Sundowns in the Champions League by scoring five goals on the road.
Sundowns’ players bring quality, consistency, and variety that will be valuable for coach Broos. It is well known that Bafana Bafana have not been performing well on the international stage, and a lack of experienced players could have been the problem.