Bafana Bafana

Helman Mkhalele reaffirms new-look Bafana Bafana will be chosen on talent not reputation

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Bafana Bafana coach Helman Mkhalele celebrates. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)
Bafana Bafana coach Helman Mkhalele celebrates. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)

Coach Helman Mkhalele insisted that players representing Bafana Bafana teams of the future will be chosen on talent alone and not reputation after his youthful side clinched a thrilling 3-2 win over Uganda on Thursday.

Goals by Evidence Makgopa and Bongokuhle Hlongwane, both on debut, secured a morale-boosting turnaround win for the home side at Orlando Stadium.

The win was made all the more impressive as it was achieved by a gutsy youthful team based locally due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Three players, including Percy Tau, were ruled out due to positive Covid-19 cases that also saw assistant coach Cedomir Janevski as a late withdrawal after returning a positive test.

That meant that Mkhalele took over the reins, which he did impressively to his credit, thanks to substitute Makgopa's brace off the bench.

Speaking after his side's impressive turnaround, Mkhalelele reaffirmed that players will be chosen on talent and what they bring to the national team over reputation.

"When we sat down with coach Hugo Broos I shared from my own playing experience saying that when I look at players, I don't look at the teams they are playing for," Mkhalele said post-match.

"I just look at the talent that will provide the solution to my problems.

"So even if that player, for instance, plays for Black Leopards but I see that he can provide solutions as a player for me, then we'll pick him.

"When that profile of player then joins up with the team, we'll just be working on the mindset then.

"We'll work at to convince them that when you wear that South African jersey, it's not there as a stepping stone."

Mkhalele then revealed that moving forward, the technical team would instil into future squads the importance of putting pride back into the Bafana jersey.

"We all need to know what wearing that jersey means, and it's not only the Bafana Bafana status," Mkhalele added.

"But it carries the hopes and dreams of the entire nation where young South African kids and also citizens who are abroad have something to look towards.

"We want to make sure that our kids have something that will serve as an inspiration in order to improve their lives for the better.

"So if Bafana Bafana does well, I'd say the whole country changes in a positive way, and that is what I'd say we'll be working on."

Bafana Bafana get their Group G World Cup qualifying campaign under way away to Zimbabwe at the beginning of September.

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