South Africa manager Hugo Broos says he found it “frustrating” to watch Lyle Foster playing in the Premier League after the Burnley forward opted to miss the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) with the backing of his club.
Bafana Bafana international Foster missed seven top-flight matches through depression in November and December, later opting not to join his country during their run to the semi-finals in Ivory Coast in January and February.
“I knew and I was understanding because I spoke a few times with Burnley coach Vincent Kompany,” said Broos.
“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.
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“Lyle Foster himself wrote a letter to say, ‘Please don’t call me because I am not ready to play Afcon’.
“But then he starts playing for his club and he plays every game for 90 minutes. I am 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 am frustrated when I see him play because we could have used him at Afcon.”
South Africa ‘stronger’ with Lyle Foster
Foster, who scored three times during qualifying for the finals, made three appearances for the Clarets during Afcon, completing 90 minutes twice.
Despite registering their record Afcon win with a 4-0 victory over Namibia during the group stage, Broos’ players failed to score in four of their seven matches, including their concluding 0-0 draw with DR Congo on Saturday, when they secured third place at the tournament by prevailing on penalties.
“If we had Lyle, we were going to be much stronger,” said Broos. “He is a good striker and he scores.
“Honestly, I am not happy. I knew from the beginning what the problems were.
“It was not only Lyle. We also lost [injured Strasbourg forward] Lebo Mothiba. Losing two of your standard strikers before you start the Afcon is not ideal.”