Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos’ shock U-turn on Themba Zwane left Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Rulani Mokwena speechless on Thursday.

Surprised as he was to learn that Sundowns’ talisman, Zwane, has finally received a call-up from Broos, Mokwena said it was about time.

The candid mentor was so pleased that he showered Broos with praise for making a U-turn on Zwane as the Bafana coach included the Sundowns star in his 23-man squad for next week’s international friendly encounters against Sierra Leone and Botswana at FNB Stadium.

Since he took over the reins as Bafana’s mentor last year, Broos continuously left out Zwane from his squad.

Broos insisted on several occasions that the 33-year-old doesn’t fit into his system, with Zwane’s age also being a factor, while the Bafana coach reiterated that he wants to build a youthful squad.

However, Broos has backtracked on his word of not picking older players, with Mokwena stating that the Bafana leader did well to correct his mistake.

“Is it?” asked a shocked but elated Mokwena after only getting the news of Zwane’s inclusion in the Bafana squad via the media at Chloorkop.

“Congratulations to him, that is great news. For Themba Zwane, I’m excited; I have been advocating for this, and also, I want to take my hat off to Hugo Broos.

“Let’s be honest, in his position, show me someone better. And when you have that type of player and that type of quality available to assist you, in my opinion, you bring the player to the national team because it is 50 million hearts and souls, it is not one,” added Mokwena.

Zwane, who had initially made peace with his continued Bafana snub, has been in scintillating form for the Brazilians for several seasons, with many, including Mokwena, calling for his inclusion in Broos’ team.

Mokwena described Broos as “stubborn” but said it takes a big person to correct their wrongs and be humble while at it.

“As a coach, I have the responsibility to protect and carry 50 million hearts and souls; I have the responsibility of making the entire nation extremely happy with performances and results,” explained the Downs coach.

“And that means sometimes you may overlook certain players, but when you have the humility to correct certain narratives or opinions that you have formulated, that shows incredible leadership.

“Kudos to Hugo Broos and Themba Zwane because he has been consistent and working hard.

“It is well deserved, and that’s what football should always be, about meritocracy, about the best players getting the best opportunities to give their best, especially when it is about representing your country; now I’m looking forward to it.”

Zwane will likely feature when Bafana take on the Leone Stars on Saturday, September 24 and Botswana on Tuesday, September 27.


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