Who are Broos’ most played XI?

football20 November 2023 07:55| © Mzansi Football
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Bafana Bafana © Gallo Images

Bafana Bafana will take on Rwanda in their second 2026 World Cup qualifier on Tuesday with the chance to make it a full haul of six points at the top of the pool.

There will no doubt be some bumps after a bruising battle with physical Benin in Durban on Saturday, which may lead to some changes from coach Hugo Broos.

We take a look at who has been the Belgian’s preferred XI since he took over based on a 4-3-3 formation. This only includes matches in which he was in the dug-out, and not COSAFA Cup or African Nations Championship games.

Goalkeeper: Ronwen Williams (1 429 minutes)

The most used player by Broos by some distance and no surprise given he is without doubt the country’s No 1 goalkeeper and also the captain of the side. Has saved the team on numerous occasions.

Right-back: Nyiko Mobbie (1 193)

The most used outfield player in the Broos era, who would have said that a few years ago? The unfashionable Sekhukhune United fullback, who can play on the right or the left, is a clear favourite for his versatility. Khuliso Mudau looks first choice now though.

Centre-back: Siyanda Xulu (1 391)

A player who has been picked regularly despite a turbulent time in club football and after going against the wishes of Broos and signing for Turan in Azerbaijan. Has had a more settled time of it at SuperSport United recently.

Centre-back: Mothobi Mvala (903)

Rushine de Reuck was an initial favourite under Broos, but his Mamelodi Sundowns teammate Mothobi Mvala has now overtaken him and looks to have made the jersey his own. His powerful displays and aerial ability make him a stand-out performer.

Left-back: Aubrey Modiba (639)

This is a position that has seen a fair amount of attrition since Broos took charge and he has failed to find a settled option. Modiba has perhaps got ahead of contenders in recent times but does fail to convince with his defensive work.

Right-midfield: Teboho Mokoena (1 353)

The third most used player by Broos, Mokoena has been a stalwart of the side over the last while and living up to his billing as PSL Footballer of the Year last season. He has pitched in with some important goals too and his long-range pile-drivers are a threat from midfield.

Central midfield: Themba Zwane (589)

Zwane was a late arrival on the scene after Broos initially refused to select him as he instead tried to blood youngsters, a plan that did not work. Zwane only made his first appearance a little over a year ago, but has since been a regular starter when fit. His football intelligence and technical excellence make him a key man.

Left midfield: Sphehlelo Sithole (511)

The Portugal-based midfielder is a real class act and would surely have higher numbers had he not battled with injury and illness during Broos’ reign. He has the ability to win ball in the centre of the park, but is also equally adept at a creative touch near the opposition box, as he showed in setting up Percy Tau’s opener against Benin on Saturday.

Right forward: Percy Tau (837)

Tau has come out of a tough time in the last two years, but looks to be back to his best and can become a real lynchpin for Broos going into the Africa Cup of Nations finals. The 29-year-old is hitting his prime as a player and looks to be over the persistent injury issues that had plagued him. On his day, unstoppable.

Centre forward: Zakhele Lepasa (533)

The unavailability of Lyle Foster at various points in the Broos reign means it is Lepasa who has been the most used ‘No 9’ style striker in the squad. He has only played 28 more minutes than the Burnley man, and also chipped in with some crucial goals, including against Liberia and Morocco in the Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Left forward: Bongokuhle Hlongwane (979)

Hlongwane has missed only five of Broos’ 21 games and all of those were by design when he was either rested from national team duty at the request of his club, Minnesota United, or injured. He can blow hot and cold, but on his day is a real threat and is starting to show more consistency. Still only 23 and potentially a big player for the national side.