South Africa

Tlale backs Sundowns influence on Bafana Bafana

Football legend John Tlale has weighed in on the influence of Mamelodi Sundowns players in the Bafana Bafana set-up ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations.

The former goalkeeper drew comparisons to the success of Barcelona under Pep Guardiola that ultimately led to Spain being crowned world champions in South Africa 14 years ago.

The defending DStv Premiership champions have 10 players in the Bafana squad that will represent the national team in Ivory Coast.

Tlale who is a member of the ‘96 AFCON winning squad feels it’s only fair that the squad is dominated by the newly-crowned African Football League champions.

“It’s a very important influence in the national team. I can make an example of Spain where Barcelona was dominating the squad in 2010 and they won the World Cup,” Tlale said.

“When Egypt was winning the AFCON they would have about nine or ten Al Ahly players. It depends on which team is doing well … you take most of the guys because experimenting is not going to help.

“Even coach Hugo Broos said that he was experimenting and he wanted younger players only but Themba Zwane proved him wrong that he can play even at his age.”

Hugo Broos and his men will kstart their campaign against the tricky Mali on Tuesday. That game will be followed up by a clash with Namibia five days later. Bafana’s points are expected to at least come from one of the two opening games before they round off the group stage against the might of Tunisia.

‘Respect all the teams’

“We have to treat every game equally, respect all the teams and not underestimate anyone,” Tlale cautioned.

“I think what made us win the AFCON in 1996 is that we respected all the teams that we played because at the end of the day, they might surprise you. We mustn’t get complacent or underestimate any team. We must make sure we get the three points in all the games.

“We also had good team spirit and we were not jealous of each other. Daniel Mudau was a top goal scorer in the league but he was not a regular and that tells you that the competition was very high.

“John Moeti was not a regular in the national team but he conquered Africa in 1995 with Orlando Pirates to win the Champions League, so it tells you that we had a pool of players who could compete at any given time.”