Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos believes Orlando Pirates forward Evidence Makgopa is not yet ready for Europe despite his excellent displays at AFCON.

The Bafana Bafana preliminary squad for the 2026 World Cup qualifiers which was announced yesterday by coach Hugo Broos was met with mixed feelings as fans were taken by surprise by some of the players that did not receive call-ups.

The provisional team will be trimmed from 36 to 23 players before South Africa battles Nigeria on 7 June and then they will close off with Zimbabwe on 11 June in Bloemfontein.

Lyle Foster made his way back to the squad after missing the recently concluded African Cup of Nations (AFCON) due to mental health issues while Evidence Makgopa who was instrumental in Bafana’s AFCON third-place finish received a call-up despite spending some time in the recovery room following an injury that he picked up just after the tournament.

What came as a shock for most fans is the snubbing of current DStv Premiership top goal scorer and Orlando Pirates striker Tshegofatso Mabasa who has been firing on all cylinders since returning to the Bucs from a loan spell at Moroka Swallows.

Mabasa is currently on 15 goals and has played a vital role in Orlando Pirates’ road to the final of the Nedbank Cup where they will take on Mamelodi Sundowns at Mbombela Stadium on 1 June.

The Bafana boss also made three new first-time call-ups including Pirates youngster Relebohile Mofokeng who has cemented his place in Jose Riveiro’s starting XI. The Stellenbosch duo of Devin Titus and Thabo Moloisane were also called for the first time to the national team following a stellar season which has seen them clinch the Carling Knockout and reach the semi-finals of the MTN 8 and Nedbank Cup.

We look to see if the youngsters can follow in the footsteps of Jayden Adams, Oswin Appollis and Elias Mokwana who have become regulars in Broos’ set-up.

Written By Siphesihle Soni.