Hugo Broos must stick with Clive Barker’s Bafana blueprint, says André Arendse

While André Arendse concedes that Hugo Broos will have to refresh the Bafana team occasionally, he’s urged him not to fix it if it’s not broken. Photo: AFP

While André Arendse concedes that Hugo Broos will have to refresh the Bafana team occasionally, he’s urged him not to fix it if it’s not broken. Photo: AFP

Published Mar 27, 2024


Bafana Bafana legend André Arendse has weighed in on the team’s chances of building on their Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) momentum.

Bafana finished third at the recently concluded Afcon, an incredible feat for the team, given their past misfortunes.

Prior to the tournament in Ivory Coast, Bafana hadn’t qualified for the previous finals, while their best performance before that was another third-place finish in 2000.

It’s also safe to say that Bafana didn’t inspire confidence before the competition as they blew hot and cold in their preparations.

But coach Hugo Broos’ men achieved the improbable, raising hopes that if they continue to adopt the same work ethic and togetherness, they’ll go far.

One of the people who knows all about those attributes is Arendse, who was in goal when Bafana won their only Afcon crown in 1996.

The SuperSport United assistant coach, who was speaking at the launch of the club’s new partnership with mobile giants Huawei yesterday, reflected on Bafana’s journey.

“It’s no secret that the Afcon team that was there has surprised many. I don’t think a lot of people gave them a chance to even exit the group,” Arendse said.

“But look how far they’ve gone. They’ve put a smile on the faces of South Africans again, and that’s something we’ve been missing for a while.

“They’ve set the bar very high now in terms of what we are capable of doing, so they’ve got to keep that bar at a very high level.”

Bafana seem to struggle to keep the bar high, having drawn with minnows Andorra 1-1 in the Fifa Series project last week, before facing Algeria last night at the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Algiers.

Many have been lenient towards Bafana after the draw with the 164th-ranked Andorra, lamenting the fact that coach Broos had fielded a makeshift team.

But while Arendse concedes that the Belgian mentor will have to refresh the team occasionally, he has urged him not to fix it if it’s not broken.

“Hugo Broos has proven that he’s got the squad to do that. The biggest challenge is to keep the squad together as best as he can,” Arendse said.

“Yes, I understand that in the 2026 World Cup, some of the players would have been older. So, he just needs to keep refreshing the team.

“But I think he knows how to do that. I am excited by the road ahead for this national team because we have quality in every single position.”

Bafana’s next assignment is to qualify for the 2025 Afcon in Morocco and 2026 World Cup in Mexico, the US and Canada.

Already they’ve been inconsistent in the qualifiers for the global showpiece, beating Benin at home before incredibly losing to minnows Rwanda away from home.

But they’ll have a chance to make up for lost time when they continue with their campaign against Nigeria on June 3, before hosting Zimbabwe seven days later.

Arendse – who has 67 international caps to his name – has called on Broos to continue following in the footsteps of the 1996 Afcon-winning coach, the late Clive Barker.

“When I go back to 1996, I am seeing familiarity there because that’s what Clive Barker did: he chose two players of supreme quality for every position,” he said.

“I can see that Hugo Broos is starting to do that. And that’s a huge plus if you want to take on the best (teams) in Africa or compete at the World Cup.”

* Last night’s Bafana Bafana v Algeria match in Algiers kicked off at 11pm SA time, and finished too late for publication.

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