Mokoena was substituted at half time by Bafana Bafana as France ran the midfield in a dominant first half display.
Broos went for his most physically balanced midfield three
Mokoena was named in a midfield three for Bafana Bafana, featuring Mamelodi Sundowns teammate Mothobi Mvala as well as Orlando Pirates Hard man Thabang Monare. That trio seemed to struggle against a France midfield duo of N’golo Kante of Chelsea as well as Adrien Rabiot of Juventus. As the French midfield duo continued to run riot, Broos had clearly decided enough was enough, and as he made a midfield switch at half time in the game, replacing Mokoena.
Having also gone down clutching his knee, early in the first half, there might of been some confusion over the substitution. There could well have been a thought that the player might of been withdrawn due to the effects of that injury, or because he seemed like he was drowning in that Bafana Bafana midfield. Although none of Mvala or Monare covered themselves with much glory either, the fact that Broos chose to sacrifice the youngest member of the trio was telling, and his reasons why, could come as somewhat of a worry for the former SuperSport United player.
Why Mokoena was subbed off at half time against France
“I think that Teboho (Mokoena) had a little bit (of) problems with the French opponents. He was also not good when he had the ball, he loses a few balls at moments where he didn’t have to lose it. So, okay, therefore he was changed at half time with (Goodman) Mosele. I thought to add a player with a little bit more power and we needed that, if you see the players (laughs) in the French team, they’re all powerful not only in midfield, and then they change it and have a guy like Pogba coming in to midfield so we needed a little bit more power and that is the reason why Teboho is changed during the half time” Broos told the media in a press conference after the game against France.
The major concern for his Bafana Bafana future?
These reasons will come as a huge concern for Mokoena, who was also bullied in midfield, alongside Ethan Brooks, during the controversial Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifier against Ghana. Portugal-based midfielder Thibang Phete was the only one who seemed to hold his own physically in that encounter. Phete was not available to Broos this time around due to injury. Now with Broos clearly a big fan of both Mvala and Monare, Mokoena would be forgiven if he began to worry that his lack of physicality in two games against top opposition could see the veteran Belgian mentor stop trusting him for the big occasions.