Bafana Bafana boss Broos explains Orlando Pirates forward Mabasa’s surprise substitution

Bafana Bafana head coach Hugo Broos says that the first-half substitution of Orlando Pirates striker Tshegofatso Mabasa in Saturday’s World Cup qualifier against Ethiopia was tactical and not injury-enforced.

After making his way back from injury by coming off the bench in the first few games of the season for Pirates, Mabasa has recently been starting for the Buccaneers.

With two goals in five league matches for Pirates this term, he was given the nod by Broos when the Belgian named his starting XI against Ethiopia.

But it didn’t work out as Mabasa was pulled off after a mere 35 minutes of action and replaced by Victor Letsoalo, the man who has been in red-hot form for Royal AM in the PSL.

“I know it’s a little bit disappointing for Tshegofatso. But he had difficulties, and it was for us better that we changed that,” Broos told Safa media of the early substitution.

“And I explained for what. We trained on it this week but I don’t think he really understood what we asked from him, and therefore we had to change him after half an hour.”

Apart from being unhappy with what he saw from Mabasa, Broos was earlier on forced to change his original starting XI after another Pirates player, Vincent Pule, had to drop out.

Pule was replaced by Mamelodi Sundowns forward Thabiso Kutumela.

“It’s always a bad thing to have to change a player just before kick-off because he is injured,” said the Afcon-winning coach.

“And also for the team, because everyone is concentrated to start the game and then suddenly 10 minutes before there is someone who is injured.

“I was a little bit afraid, but I think that Kutumela did very well. And he was also one of the guys with the 10 others who fight until the last minute.”

South Africa face Ethiopia again on Tuesday, this time on home turf at the FNB Stadium.

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