With chances of Njabulo Blom joining Bafana Bafana seemingly slim, coach Hugo Broos has named the player to replace him.
Blom is reportedly not well and missed St Louis City’s 2-1 win over Portland on Sunday. Although he has been called to Bafana, his club has said he is not fit to travel to South Africa.
Broos included Blom in his final 23-man squad that will do battle against Liberia in the upcoming AFCON qualifiers.
They host Liberia on March 24, 2023, at Orlando Stadium before visiting the Lone Stars in Monrovia four days later.
Alongside Blom in midfield, Broos called Mamelodi Sundowns’ duo of Themba Zwane and Teboho Mokoena, Sphephelo Sithole of Belenenses SAD and Varbergs BoIS star Luke Leroux.
It meant dropping several players who were in the initial 35-member provisional squad.
SuperSport United duo of Thapelo Maseko and Grant Margeman, Sundowns’ Sphelele Mkhulise, who is nursing an injury, and Miguel Timm of Orlando Pirates.
Broos has since hinted who will replace Blom should the former Kaizer Chiefs midfield grafter be ruled out completely.
“It will probably be Timm,” Broos responded when asked who he was likely to bring on board should Blom not make it.
Including Timm would make much sense, as Broos would likely be looking for a like-for-like option to deputise Sithole in the CDM position.
The 31-year-old midfielder, Timm, debuted for Bafana in November 2022 against Mozambique. South Africa won that international friendly 2-1 at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.
The Belgian mentor, on record as saying some players cannot replicate their club form for the national team, praised Timm for getting it right.
“I saw new players, and if I can mention one, it is Timm. Timm played a very good game.”
“You saw what he did at Pirates, and he also did the same thing here. That means that he can play on this level.
“It’s not only him, but I’m giving an example. That is what we have to work on, having players that are not only good in the PSL but also internationally,” Broos said after the Mambas tie.
Bafana start trooping into camp on Sunday to prepare for the Lone Stars’ must-win clash. They must win both games to qualify for next year’s edition of the AFCON, which will be hosted in Ivory Coast.
Group K has three teams after Zimbabwe were dropped following their ban from FIFA. If Liberia loses both games against Bafana, they will be out of contention with one qualifier against Morocco left.
Liberia lost the first leg 2-0; even a win over the Atlas Lions in the second leg would be inconsequential.