ALL eyes will be on new Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos when, or whenever he returns to the country to take charge of his first match, which happens to be in the crunch World Cup qualifiers in September.
The 69-year-old has been away in his native Belgium to receive his second Covid-19 vaccination and missed the friendly match against Uganda, as well as the recently concluded Cosafa Cup, which Bafana won.
Broos’ second assistant Helman “Midnight Express” Mkhalele and Morena Ramoreboli held the fort impressively in the former Cameroon coach’s absence and that of his first assistant, Cedomir Janevski.
Janevski has also been missing in action ever since he tested positive for the deadly virus on the eve of Bafana’s friendly against the Cranes of Uganda last month.
The pair will return to take charge of the team for the upcoming Qatar World Cup qualifiers, which kick off with a tough clash against neighbours Zimbabwe on 1 September.
They will take over a Bafana team that is high in confidence having gone unbeaten in their last seven matches, albeit with different players from those considered regulars.
But could this be a welcome headache for Broos and his team?
He might be tempted to retain a number of the new faces that impressed in the Cosafa Cup. The likes of Siyethemba Sithebe, Veli Mothwa, Victor Letsoalo, Rushine De Reuck, Ethan Brooks, Njabulo Ngcobo and Yusuf Maart all did their chances of retaining their places no harm.
Ramoreboli, who managed to get the best out of these players, believes they have given Broos food for thought as he prepares to take charge of his first match.
“The future is clearly bright for South African football. There are players who caught the eye that were not even part of the initial camp. I think I counted close to 13 players who made their debuts in the Cosafa Cup,” said Ramoreboli.
“This simply means coach Broos has enough players to pick from when he takes over. This will give him a chance to look at all the players, and it will be easy to see who is ready for Bafana. These players were put to the test mentally.
“Their character was also tested and they came out with flying colours.”