Cassius Mailula out of Afcon contention for Bafana: Hugo Broos
Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos says Toronto FC attacker Cassius Mailula will not be considered for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Ivory Coast in January and February.
Mailula has only made three appearances in Major League Soccer since signing from Mamelodi Sundowns in July for Toronto, where he is an understudy to established internationals Lorenzo Insigne, Federico Bernardeschi and Deandre Kerr.
The 22-year-old striker was on the pitch for only 68 minutes in the three matches he featured in for Toronto, and he has missed important recent Afcon qualifiers and friendly matches for Bafana.
Speaking as South Africa prepared to take on Benin on Saturday at Moses Mabida Stadium (3pm) and Rwanda away in Fifa World Cup qualifiers, the straight-talking Broos said he is disappointed Mailula hasn’t seen much action since he moved to the US in July.
“Not at all,” was Broos' response when asked if the 22-year-old is in the frame to make it to the Ivory Coast.
“We followed them [Toronto] last week and I am disappointed he was not in the team. Let’s hope it will change for him next season.”
Broos said what complicates things more for Mailula is that his season has come to an end.
“Mailula is a problem. Competition is finished now in the US and what is he going to do? We also have problems with Bongokuhle Hlongwane and Njabulo Blom because competition has stopped and they have to train.”
Broos again suggested Mailula was influenced by “agents” to make the move to a team that has established internationals in its attack.
“It will be difficult because he nearly didn’t play. I know it is difficult for younger players when there is a team that tries to take them and they put some [financial] figures in front of them.
“It is difficult to say no if the figures are much higher than what you are getting, but I am convinced it is agents who will tell you to go. Agents have to see that younger players have to play.
“You transfer a player with 16 PSL games [for Sundowns in 2022-23] in his legs to Toronto, who have two Italian internationals like Insigne and Bernardeschi, and Canadian international Kerr, he doesn’t have much chance to play.
“It is a pity for Mailula because the progress he made with Mamelodi Sundowns last year has been cut with a scissor. We have to wait for him for next season in America and see how he is doing.”
Bafana are in World Cup qualifying Group C where Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Lesotho are their other opponents.
South Africa is drawn in Group E of the Afcon with Tunisia, Mali and Namibia.
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