Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos has revealed his thinking behind handing Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Phathutshedzo Nange a surprise national team call-up.
Nange was handed his first Bafana Bafana call-up on Thursday when he was named in Broos’ 23-man squad for next month’s 2023 CAF Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Morocco.
The 30-year-old is one of only four midfielders included in the group that will travel to North Africa and his inclusion raised eyebrows, particularly amid the continued absence of PSL Footballer of the Season nominee, Andile Jali.
Nange made 24 league appearances for the campaign and scored twice, including once in the 1-1 draw against champions Mamelodi Sundowns earlier this month, but it is his physical traits that ultimately earned him the nod.
“We are looking every week at the league games. Me and my two colleagues [Helman Mkhalele and Cedomir Janevski] make a little report and every time we saw Nange playing, we said maybe one day we have to give him a chance,” Broos said on SABC Sport.
“He is a powerful player and he is a good player in the midfield. He is tall. Maybe this is someone we have to give a chance and that’s the reason why he is here with us.
“I say it again. It was in the game against Ghana and it was in the game against France, our midfield was not strong enough.
We need some stronger guys. But this is not the only reason but it is very important in the football of today.
“When you see all those teams,” Broos added, raising his hands to emphasise their height.
“I am 1.82 metres tall, I shouldn’t be the tallest. When I was playing I was the tallest player, I never played against someone taller than me, but it has changed in football.
“Those players are now athletes. Before, a tall player was someone who couldn’t run and couldn’t turn, now they are athletes and you are playing against them. We need some players who have the same qualities, certainly on a physical level, to compete.”