SIERRA LEONE, Freetown – The 30-year-old was initially dropped for the upcoming games but the Belgian has now reversed his decision.
Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos says he had two options to replace injured defender Thibang Phete but settled for Siyanda Xulu for the international friendly matches against Sierra Leone and Botswana.
With Xulu having started enjoying some game time recently after spending five months without a club, Broos was sceptical about selecting the former Kaizer Chiefs defender.
But the Belgian changed his mind and saw Xulu as the perfect replacement for Pete.
“There was an injured player and we had to replace him. There were two options, I take another player or I take Siya,” said Broos as Idiski Times.
“I know I said last week that it was a little bit too soon for Siya because he was five months out of matches, but he’s played the last two games, he played 90 minutes.”
Bafana plays Sierra Leone on Saturday 24th September 2022, before engaging neighbours Botswana next Tuesday and both games will take place at FNB Stadium.
Broos explained the reason why he went for Xulu who has been with the national team since 2012.
“I prefer to have someone like him again because he is a leader in the group, so I think it was better to take him again and maybe he’s not ready 100% but I know he’s a professional guy so I believe he will give 100%,” Broos added.
“He was always there until the game against France and that’s the reason why I take him back. I know him, I know his mentality and again he’s played two games already. That’s why I decided to take him.”
Xulu is Broos’ vice-captain and after leaving Hapoel Tel Aviv in February, he then joined Azerbaijani side Turan-Tovuz IK in August.
Being clubless after parting ways with Hapoel Tel Aviv saw Xulu being overlooked for June’s 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Morocco.
Being one of the seniors Broos has at his disposal, the defender’s experience was missed in that game which Bafana lost 2-1. BT/21/9/2022