Bafana Bafana head coach Hugo Broos has backed the inclusion of Thabang Monare, while the Orlando Pirates midfielder claimed he wasn’t surprised by his Africa Cup of Nations squad call-up.
The 34-year-old was a notable inclusion in the 23-man squad as the oldest member of the squad and not having been selected since March 2022.
While he’s been heralded as one of the most underrated talents in the DStv Premiership, it appears injuries to Bathusi Aubaas and Sibongesni Mthethwa opened the door at the final minute under Broos.
The Belgian is showing clear intent that he’s not looking to build a squad for the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations and 2026 FIFA World Cup but rather challenge for what lies ahead now in Ivory Coast with an experienced squad.
“I think you know where we are going, we’re not going to a friendly game,” Broos said when asked about his intentions with Monare’s inclusion.
“We’re going to a big tournament and then you can choose young players and before playing one game you’re already out because those guys don’t have the experience. You need to have a good mix and that’s why I chose Thabang.
“I chose him before but then suddenly… I don’t know what happened at Pirates but then suddenly he didn’t play anymore after France, why? I don’t know. But you see now he’s regular this season and I think when we have a problem, with the qualities he has, he is the right man [to fix it].
“He has the experience, he’s a good player, he’s a guy who’s good in recuperation, so that’s the reason Thabang is with us. It’s choices, and when you have to choose there’s always going to be discussions. Okay everyone has their right to think about choices they want – but the reason why he is here is what I said.”
The former Bidvest Wits star is one of four midfield options alongside Sphephelo Sithole, Teboho Mokoena and Jayden Adams.
“I wasn’t [surprised to be named in the squad], in the first  players I was mentioned and I was looking forward to standing up for my country so it didn’t come as a surprise,” Monare said confidently.
“I was ready and willing to be here, standing firm to represent my country.”