South Africa boss Hugo Broos has reignited his row with Burnley’s Vincent Kompany over Lyle Foster, insisting he is still frustrated he could not play for his country at the AFCON.
South Africa won the play-off to finish third in the tournament at Ivory Coast – but Broos is still smarting over the loss of Foster.
Kompany claimed the striker could not travel to the tournament as he returned from his mental health problems and Broos insists South Africa would have been stronger with him. Broos contacted Kompany when Foster made his re-appearance as a substitute against Everton in mid-December and says the player wrote to him, urging him not to pick him.
Broos feels frustrated because Foster has made seven successive starts for the Clarets since his return, although he missed Saturday’s loss at Liverpool through injury.
“Honestly, I’m not happy,” said Broos. “I knew from the beginning what the problems were. I knew and I was understanding [of the situation] because I spoke a few times with Burnley coach Vincent Kompany.
“Our doctor spoke to his counterpart at Burnley. We put everything together and decided it was not a good thing to call Foster for AFCON.
“Lyle Foster himself wrote a letter to say, ‘Please don’t call on me because I’m not ready to play AFCON’. But then he starts playing for his club and he plays every game for 90 minutes.
“I’m asking myself why it wasn’t possible for him to come with us to Ivory Coast? This is my frustration, but I will not blame anyone. I’m frustrated when I see him play because we could have used him at AFCON.
“He’s a good striker and he scores. If we had Lyle, we were going to be much stronger.”
Meanwhile, Burnley board member JJ Watt claims it would be “irresponsible” of them not to prepare for relegation.
Burnley are seven points below the survival line, having played a game more than 17th-place Luton and former NFL star Watt, who is a minority shareholder at the club, insists they are thinking of the implications of going down.
The Clarets have always had a long-term strategy and want Kompany to continue to lead them, even if they are back in the Championship next season. They feel they bought the young, exciting players, with plenty of scope for development, they needed and that they will be the core of their team next season.
“Being on the board, being in meetings, you don’t ever want to have to prepare for [relegation], but realistically it’s irresponsible if you don’t,” said Watt. “Of course, we’re prepared for that situation, we’ve discussed all those things, but we’re fighting and doing everything we can to try and stay up.
“We got a few good loans during the last transfer window in [Maxime] Esteve, [Lorenz] Assignon and [David] Fofana, so we’re going to fight our hardest and do our best.
“If the situation does arise, we’ll be prepared for it and we will prepare to bounce back up very quickly.”
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