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Bafana Offered Downs Coaches To Assist During AFCON?

The South African Football Association has been offered the services of Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Rulani Mokwena or assistant Manqoba Mngqithi or Moroka Swallows’ Steve Komphela to assist Hugo Broos during next year’s Africa Cup of Nations, iDiski Times has learnt.

The challenge SAFA are facing is that Helman Mkhalele might not be able to sit on the bench in the Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast next year because he doesn’t possess a CAF A or CAF B Licence. 

CAF introduced the rule at the beginning of last season that head coaches who will sit on the bench in the CAF inter-club competitions must possess CAF A or CAF Pro Licences to be on the bench, while assistants need at least a CAF B Licence, while the only badges from outside the African continent that are accepted are Pro Licences from UEFA, AFC and CONCACAF.  

The decision has affected many clubs in the PSL such as Cape Town City, where coach Eric Tinkler was not allowed on the bench in their CAF Champions League games despite holding an UEFA A Licence. 

It is also applied with Royal AM, where Dan Malesela and Khabo Zondo could not sit on the bench in the CAF Confederation Cup.  

This rule was also adopted by COSAFA, leading SAFA to make a last-ditch call to rope in Morena Ramoreboli to be on the bench during the COSAFA Cup in July in Durban, allowing Mkhalele to stay at home. 

While it has not yet been confirmed that the same rule will apply at next year’s AFCON, Mkhalele would not be able to sit on the bench during the tournament if it does come into effect.

When Bafana coach Broos was asked by iDiski Times what would be his plan B, if Mkhalele didn’t obtain the required license in time, the Belgian tactician insisted he would take Mkhalele to Ivory Coast either way. 

“I don’t have plan B because Helman is going with me,” Broos stated.

“Even if he is not allowed to go, he will be with us. But not on the bench.” 

When asked if he will be on his own in the dugout if Mkhalele is not allowed to sit on the bench, Broos said: “No, Helman is here, and he stays here. Whatever happens in the next months or weeks [it won’t change my decision].

“I don’t think that CAF will suddenly decide that coaches who are on the bench need CAF A or PRO. That will be not honest because you don’t have time to do it.

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“And again, let me clear, whatever happens, Helman stays with us.” 

SAFA Technical Director Walter Steenbok confirmed that Mkhalele had a chance to be on the CAF A Licence course, which is currently hosted by SAFA, after he was cleared by CAF to enrol despite holding only a SAFA Level 1 badge, but the dates clashed with Bafana’s 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

The only other chance for Mkhalele to enroll for a CAF A Licence, will be in the March FIFA break in South Africa next year, but it would be too late for the AFCON, which takes place in January and February next year. 

Meanwhile, close sources told iDiski Times that SAFA have been left disappointed that Mkhalele has not previously enrolled for the course outside the country. 

If Mkhalele can’t be with Broos in the AFCON finals on the bench, SAFA and Bafana have been offered to choose either Mokwena or Mngqithi, as well as Komphela, but it remains to be seen how the situation will pan out and whether CAF will enforce those rules during the upcoming AFCON.

Robin-Duke Madlala
Robin-Duke Madlala
Robin-Duke Madlala is iDiski Times' KwaZulu-Natal-based web journalist. Boasting extensive experience in the South African football landscape, Robin-Duke has previously worked for Kick-Off Magazine, Soccer Laduma, and Daily Sun and Sunday Sun. He specialises in breaking news and transfers around South Africa’s big clubs in KZN.