Former Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Mandla Masango has expressed his belief that the starting lineup for Bafana Bafana at the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) could see a significant presence of Mamelodi Sundowns players.
With Bafana coach Hugo Broos selecting 10 players from the DStv Premiership champions, Masango sees the cohesion and winning mentality of the Sundowns squad as a potential driving force for success in the tournament, set to take place in Ivory Coast from January 13 to February 11.
The Sundowns players named in the AFCON squad include Ronwen Williams, Grant Kekana, Terrence Mashego, Aubrey Modiba, Mothobi Mvala, Khuliso Mudau, Themba Zwane, Teboho Mokoena, Thapelo Maseko, and Thapelo Morena.
Masango, who was part of the Bafana squad in the 2015 AFCON in Equatorial Guinea, emphasized the familiarity and camaraderie among the Sundowns players, highlighting their shared history and success at both domestic and continental levels.
‘There will be nothing wrong with playing all of Sundowns players' – Ex Kaizer Chiefs midfielder
“When it comes to deciding the line-up, it is entirely up to the coach, but I guess if the guys [Sundowns players] are fit and ready to play, there will be nothing wrong with playing all of them at the same time,” Masango remarked.
Having played alongside some of the current Sundowns stars during his international career, Masango recognizes the advantages of their cohesive play and winning mentality.
Sundowns, a powerhouse in South African football, clinched the African Football League (AFL) title and progressed to the group stages of the CAF Champions League in the 2023 season.
Their relentless pursuit of success has positioned them as formidable contenders in every competition they enter.
Currently gunning for their seventh consecutive Premiership title, the Brazilians bring a wealth of experience and a winning culture that Masango believes will be invaluable to the national team.
Former Kaizer Chiefs player continued, “They know each other because they have played together for a long time; they are doing well for their club and they have that winning mentality, which they will bring to the national team.”
The coach, Broos, has carefully assembled a squad that Masango sees as benefiting from the experience of the Sundowns players, who have been tested in high-stakes competitions like the CAF Champions League.
“The coach has assembled a good squad that will benefit from the experience of the Sundowns players participating in the Caf Champions League and winning the inaugural AFL.”
Acknowledging the presence of seasoned players from other clubs, such as Thabang Monare from Orlando Pirates, Masango expressed confidence in Bafana Bafana's chances in the tournament.
“Sundowns is a team that compete to win in all the matches they play in and they will bring that mentality to the national team. There are also experienced players from other teams like Thabang Monare of Orlando Pirates and a few others who will add value.”
Kaizer Chiefs' former player highlighted the importance of encouraging the team to aspire to emulate the success of the historic class of 1996.
While recognizing the challenges ahead, Masango believes that with the right mindset and the infusion of Sundowns' winning culture, Bafana Bafana has a solid chance of making a mark in the AFCON 2023.
This article was most recently revised and updated 2 months ago