Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos says he’s looking forward to sitting on the bench for the very first time when his team takes on Zimbabwe in a crucial 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier on September 3.

This will be followed shortly by another at home fixture against the Black Stars of Ghana three days later. Although qualifying for next year’s World Cup is not part of his mandate, Broos says he will do everything possible to see Bafana Bafana qualify for the football global showpiece.

Hugo Broos will have his first-ever training session since he was appointed as coach in May this year. The 69-year old came in after Bafana Bafana failed to qualify for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Cameroon. He was lucky to have the qualifiers moved from the original date of June to September due to the spread of COVID-19.

Broos announced a relatively young squad of 31-players for the two upcoming matches. The team was mainly selected from the players who played against Uganda in an international friendly in June, then from the side that lifted the COSAFA Cup trophy in July, as well as players who featured in the recently concluded Tokyo Olympic Games.

“It was not easy for me to do this first if I can say,  official selection. First of all the league here in South Africa starts next weekend so we didn’t have so much opportunity to see the players live. We were happy that there were MTN cup games last weekend we visited a few games. There so we had the opportunity already to see one of few of those players” says Hugo Broos, Bafana Bafana coach.

The mandate of the coach from the South African Football Association (SAFA) is to build a formidable team for the future.

“But we are not going to underrate these qualifiers but the coach is going to give it his best but we want everyone to be behind the couch knowing that we are on the building phase and we believe that after these qualifiers, we will be more stronger”. says Tebogo Motlanthe, SAFA Chief Executive.

But the coach is aiming to achieve big with Bafana Bafana.

“Who doesn’t want to go to the World Cup? This is really one of the highlights of a career. I was lucky to be once in the World Cup as a player but also for a country and also as part of a technical side of the team. It’s a highlight so you can be sure that we will do everything to be in Qatar next year”. Hugo Broos, Bafana Bafana coach added.

The two recent camps of the senior national team reported several positive COVID-19 cases. But this time strict COVID-19 protocols will be followed to avoid a similar occurrence.

“We have reviewed our COVID protocol and we have decided to go on a rigid bubble so we are going to employ a rigid bubble. Number one we are going to have a hotel that is exclusively for the team, only for the team. So there’s going to be a lot of tests done but over and above that we are going to limit the people that will be interacting with the team and the technical staff” says Thulani Ngwenya, SAFA Chief Medical Officer.

Six overseas-based players including forwards Percy Tau and Luther Singh are part of the squad. The young team will be trimmed down to 23 players a few days before the match. The squad assembles in Johannesburg next Monday for the away clash against Zimbabwe.