Former Bafana Bafana forward Katlego Mphela has added his voice to coach Hugo Broos overlooking Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Andile Jali.
The midfielder has not been called up to the national team since Broos was appointed South Africa coach in May 2021.
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With the player being one of Sundowns’ best this season, there has been noise about the 32-year-old’s continued exclusion from the Bafana fold.
“When this coach came, he said he wanted youngsters but everytime he announces his squad, there is always conflict in whatever he says,” said Mphela as per SunSport.
“It seems like it’s personal now, especially for Jali. Jali is performing week in, week out. If you say he doesn’t suit your style or system, then that’s fine.
“But don’t say he played before and we didn’t qualify [for tournaments] and why must I call him? But we also didn’t qualify for the World Cup [without Jali].”
“But I think the way he is now putting it, it’s unprofessional,” Mphela said.
“But I did say before we played against Ghana [the last match of Afcon qualifiers], if you go to Ghana you need people like Jali who will fight for you. Because if you check the position he plays in, tell me one player who plays like Jali.”
While Broos indicated that he is rebuilding Bafana with younger players, there have been debates on who deserves to play for Bafana between Jali and Orlando Pirates’ Thabang Monare who is of the same age as the Sundowns star.
Jali himself reacted to Broos overlooking him although he tried to be diplomatic about it.
“You see if I was the Andile of 2015 I would answer you in a different way or say something I would regret tomorrow and wake up questioning why I said what I said,” Jali said on Marawa Sports Worldwide.
“He says he knows me but he did what he did before he even saw me, but he won’t listen to anyone telling him what to do. I’m happy where I am. My [Sundowns] coaches are good, they are good, I’m playing well with my teammates and I no longer have as many injuries.
“I’m really happy where I am and I’m working hard for my team. But I’m available [for Bafana Bafana] all the time. Yes, in a big way, that’s why I told you anytime I’m always available.”
The former Pirates star then gave an analogy of his situation with Broos.
“The coach is like a neighbour that hates you but he doesn’t know why he hates you,” said Jali.
“Sometimes the neighbour just greets you after a while and you’re shocked at the sudden change after so long. I’m waiting for the neighbour now.”
Bafana are now set to travel to Morocco for June's 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier and Jali is not part of the 37-man provisional squad.