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Broos Explains Mvala-Ngezana Gamble

Bafana Bafana head coach Hugo Broos has addressed his decision to start Siyabonga Ngezana and Mothobi Mvala together against Nigeria.

South Africa returned to the country from Uyo, Nigeria, with a valuable point as Ngezana and Mvala played centre-back pairing for the first time in their careers.

It was Ngezana’s first cap for Bafana since 2018, when he played in the Cosafa Cup under then-head coach Stuart Baxter. And to be frank, it’s a remarkable turnaround for the player who was ridiculed by his own fans at Chiefs a season ago.

He’s since moved to the Romania Superliga with FCSB where he won the league title in his debut season, named in the team of the season and now back into the Bafana fold.

Meanwhile, Mvala, since being converted into a centre-back has been an ever present figure in the national team over the past 12 months, despite previously being selected as a defensive midfielder by Broos.

Mothobi Mvala of South Africa during the World Cup 2026 qualifiers Bafana Bafana press conference and training at Dobsonville Stadium in Johannesburg on 03 June 2024 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

“I was happy with the performance Ngezana and Mvala, it was their first time playing together, so yes for me it was also a wait and see [moment],” Broos said ahead of the Zimbabwe game.

“It’s not easy playing for the first time together in a game like that and they did it well. The only thing I want to say, I said it already a few times to the players, we don’t play with XI, we play with 23 players.

“For me, every player is important, the most important thing is that when I need those guys who are on the bench, that they are ready [to play] and in the past it was like that. I’m confident all those players on the bench, if tomorrow I need them, they will do what I expect from them.

“That’s the most important thing, not who plays and what – okay for you [as media] maybe – but I make choices and everytime you have to wait and see if it’s a good choice, so last Friday it was a good choice with Siya and Mothobi.

“So we’ll see for the future [what happens], but for me, the most important thing is to be able to count on those who are on the bench, when there’s three or four players who are not happy, disappointed, blah, blah, blah – then you have a big problem.”

The two sides meet at the Free State Stadium, the first time a Bafana game has been played in Bloemfontein in 14 years.

Siyabonga Ngezana during FIFA World Cup Qualifiers 2026 South Africa Training at Free State Stadium on the 09 June 2024 in Bloemfontein © Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix
Lorenz Kohler
Lorenz Kohler
Lorenz Köhler is an award-winning South African football journalist. Having cut his teeth in the industry working at Kick-Off Magazine, he is now iDiski Times' senior digital content writer. He specialises in breaking top African football stories and transfers with a major focus on the 'big-three' Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates and CAF inter-club and international competitions. In 2021 he was listed amongst the top-five journalists under 30 in Print Media for the AIPS Awards.