Bafana Bafana squad: Broos explains omission of DStv Premiership Golden Boot winner Mabasa

Bafana Bafana head coach Hugo Broos has justified his decision to exclude the DStv Premiership Golden Boot winner Tshegofatso Mabasa from the squad that will face Nigeria and Zimbabwe in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

South Africa will lock horns with Super Eagles next Friday, 7 June at Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo before they host The Warriors on 11 June at Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein.

Belgian tactician, Broos unveiled his final 23-man squad, trimming 13 players from the 36-member preliminary list.

Broos pointed to Mabasa's subpar showing in his last national team appearance in 2021, where he was substituted before halftime in a World Cup qualifier against Ethiopia, as one of the factors in his decision.

The coach opted for Stellenbosch FC striker Iqraam Rayners, who scored 15 league goals this season.

Broos feels Rayners, who was part of the team that played international friendlies against Algeria and Andorra in March, did well enough to earn a place in the team.

Why Hugo Broos overlooked Tshegofatso Mabasa

“We had a bad experience with Mabasa two years ago,” said Broos on Thursday. 

“I had to change him after 35 minutes and everybody said it was a scandal. No, Mabasa didn’t reach the level he had to reach for the national team. 

“He’s not the same player anymore now, but you see what happened between January this year and the last game he played for Bafana Bafana two years ago, that was not so good.

“But okay I don’t think, for me, that I had to take him now because I have also Iqraam. Iqraam scored also 15 goals, it’s one goal difference so I give the confidence to Iqraam right now. 

“It was a decision [of whether I take] him or Mabasa. But Iqraam did very well in the game against Algeria, we scored easily, so I gave him the confidence now. And it’s up to him to prove.”

However, Broos added that they will continue monitoring Mabasa's progress next season.

“We will follow Mabasa next season and let’s hope he can do the same thing that he did now in the last four months – scoring goals. Then we will have another good striker.”

The 27-year-old was on loan at Moroka Swallows in the first round of the season before returning to his parent club Pirates in January. His contract with the Sea Robbers was set to expire in June, however, the club has reportedly handed him an extension ahead of the start of the 2024/25 season.

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Nkosiyabuya Sithole

Nkosiyabuya Sithole, a young and rising sports journalist based in Durban, South Africa, harbors a deep passion for football. Nevertheless, he aspires to become a well-rounded journalist, adept in various areas of the field.

Nkosi's career began in 2020, working as a home-based writer during the COVID-19 pandemic. He has since written for various websites, including Briefly News, FiND-iT News, and The South African. Attending live sporting events is a particular pleasure for him, as they provide opportunities for interaction with sports personalities.

Outside of the office, he's a God-fearing and affable young man.