Bafana have benefit of a former Broos recruit in their ranks
Anele Ngcongca will give his teammates the inside track on the strategy of Hugo Broos‚ the new Belgian coach of Cameroon‚ when Bafana Bafana meet the Indomitable Lions in Saturday’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Limbe.
South Africa need a win in Cameroon‚ then again in Tuesday’s return match at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban‚ to revive their hopes of qualifying for Gabon 2017‚ having registered just a single point from their first two matches.
Ngcongca‚ Bafana’s stalwart right-back and one of South Africa’s best imports to Europe of the last 10 years‚ was taken to Belgium’s Racing Genk by Broos in 2007 and played his first season their under the coach.
The defender‚ enjoying a season on loan in France’s Ligue 1 currently with Troyes‚ said Broos’s game plan should suit Cameroon‚ who are known for their imposing‚ physical style of play.
“Hugo is a capable coach. It’s a long time since I worked with him‚ but I know what strategy he uses‚” Ngcongca said.
“He’s a typical Belgian coach who plays with three attackers and two defensive midfielders‚ and of course a No10. He likes big players with a strong mentality.
“Playing it physical is one of his best games and we know Cameroon have got huge players. So I think it’s going to be a tough game for us.”
Bafana began with a 0-0 home draw against Gambia in Durban‚ then suffered an embarrassing 3-1 away loss against Mauritania.
Cameroon top the group with six points having notched 1-0 wins at home against Mauritania‚ and away to Gambia.
Those were not the most convincing results from a team who have been in a rebuilding phase. Volker Vinke was fired as coach in October. The German had presided over the Lions exiting in the first round of the 2014 World Cup and 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.
Bafana have a good record against the West Africans‚ having lost just once in six encounters and won three times.
Ngcongca said not too much should be read into the two teams’ history against each other. Bafana’s World Cup right- back said South Africa’s nimbleness on the ball will again be their best weapon against physical Cameroon.
“We’ve got to stick to what we’re good at. We can make good combinations‚ we can use our feet — we’ve got to use that quality we have‚ ” he said.
“We can say we’ve got a good record. But anything can happen. It’s a different ball game.
“They’ve got a new coach. And I’m sure the guys getting there chance will want to showcase‚ and make sure they get another call-up from Hugo. It’s going to be a tough one.”
Cameroon have big-name players emerging as a force in African football‚ including 24-year-old Vincent Aboubakar‚ the FC Porto striker who scored four goals in the qualifiers for last year’s Afcon in Equatorial Guinea.
Bafana have had issues with form and injuries at goalkeeper and striker. And coach Shakes Mashaba has appeared set on creating an unstable atmosphere surrounding the squad with his unnecessarily bullish approach and fights with journalists.
But it is the quirky element to Bafana that they seem to pull off results when the odds are stacked against them‚ as much as they can disappoint when expected to win — such as against Mauritania.
Saturday’s result is likely to decide not just the team’s 2017 chances‚ but also perhaps the future of Mashaba as Bafana coach.