No time like the present for Khanyisa Mayo, Iqraam Rayners to impress Hugo Broos

There’s no denying that Bafana Bafana had an incredible Africa Cup of Nations, but they still need more strikers, desperately. Seen here: Bafana coach Hugo Broos. Picture: Michael Sherman

There’s no denying that Bafana Bafana had an incredible Africa Cup of Nations, but they still need more strikers, desperately. Seen here: Bafana coach Hugo Broos. Picture: Michael Sherman

Published Feb 17, 2024


After all the deserved plaudits going Bafana Bafana’s way following their Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) display, here is a dose of reality: they need strikers, desperately.

And that is no slight on Evidence Makgopa, who ran his socks off as a targetman for Bafana in Ivory Coast.

The gangly 23-year-old Orlando Pirates star did the hard yards by holding the ball up for the likes of Percy Tau and Themba Zwane to play off him, and used his big frame well in the air.

Makgopa produced an excellent finish to score the opening goal against Morocco too, and there is certainly a place for him in the Bafana squad going forward.

Spread the net wider

But with Burnley striker Lyle Foster’s immediate international future up in the air after not availing himself for the Afcon, and Strasbourg’s Lebo Mothiba facing a lengthy injury layoff, national coach Hugo Broos needs to spread his net much wider upfront ahead of the June World Cup qualifiers against Nigeria (away) and Zimbabwe (home).

There is a mini tournament in Algeria coming up in March, where SA will face Andorra and the host nation, and the Belgian mentor already indicated when Bafana landed back home this week that he wants to introduce a couple of newcomers.

“There will be new players in the two friendlies in March. I don’t think it will be 10 players, but there are some positions in the team that require more attention than others,” Broos said.

“For example, on the right side there is no problem and we don’t have to look for another right back (due to Khuliso Mudau’s outstanding form). There are some positions we have to look at.

“I have already spoken with assistant coach Helman Mkhalele, and when we are back in South Africa, we will try to look for new players who will be invited for camp in March. Let’s hope we find players who can help us in the next games for the World Cup qualifiers.”

While Makgopa did a sterling job, he needed to have a quick striker alongside him to relieve the pressure, and also provide an alternative avenue for playmakers such as Zwane and Tau.

Star midfielder Teboho Mokoena is a viable goal threat as well, but cannot be expected to rescue Bafana with world-class free-kicks all the time.

So, now is the time for the likes of Khanyisa Mayo and Iqraam Rayners to put their hands up and be inspired by Bafana’s Afcon performance in the second half of the DStv Premiership season.

Mayo locks target on Chippa

Rayners was set to feature for Stellenbosch FC’s clash against SuperSport United – who have veteran striker Bradley Grobler – in Atteridgeville on Friday, while Mayo is sure to lead the Cape Town City attack against Chippa United in East London on Saturday afternoon.

Over the last five seasons, there have been just two South Africans to win the Lesley Manyathela Golden Boot in the DStv Premiership: Grobler and Mayo.

Grobler banged in 16 goals in the 2020-21 league campaign, while Cape Town City sharp-shooter Mayo shared the award with Mamelodi Sundowns’ Peter Shalulile on 12 last season.

After South African duo Rodney Ramagalela (Polokwane City) and Tau (Sundowns) both totalled 11 goals in 2017-18, it has been mainly foreigners who have led the scoring charts in the PSL.

Zambian Mwape Musonda scored 16 goals for Black Leopards in 2018-19, Malawi’s Gabadinho Mhango (Orlando Pirates) and Shalulile (Highlands Park) scored 16 in 2019-20, Grobler’s 16 was the most in 2020-21, Shalulile scored 23 for Sundowns in 2021-22, and then Shalulile and Mayo got 16 last season.

Crowded at the top

In the current campaign, Mayo tops the list with seven alongside Sundowns’ Brazilian Lucas Ribeiro Costa, followed by Grobler, AmaZulu’s Nigerian Augustine Kwem and Moroka Swallows’ Tshegofatso Mabasa on six, with Stellenbosch FC’s speedy Rayners on five.

Rayners’ club, Stellenbosch, posted an incredible list of his feats during 2023 in early January, where they stated that he scored 21 goals in 34 club games, provided four assists, went past 50 goals in over 100 appearances, earned five Bafana caps and scored one SA goal, was twice chosen as the PSL Player of the Month, was the Nedbank Cup MVP and part of the title-winning Carling Knockout Cup side.

The only feat they forgot to mention was Rayners’ four Player-of-the-Match awards in the Carling Knockout.

The 28-year-old Rayners and 25-year-old Mayo were both considered to be extremely unlucky to miss out on Bafana Afcon selection, with Makgopa and Zakhele Lepasa preferred, while Oswin Appollis, Mihlali Mayambela, Zwane and Tau played behind the strikers.