Bafana bringing on the ‘Terror’

2011-02-08 00:00

AJAX Cape Town striker Thembinkosi “Terror” Fanteni has been recalled to the Bafana Bafana squad as a late replacement for SuperSport United forward Kermit Erasmus for tomorrow night’s international friendly against Kenya at Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace.

Erasmus has had to withdraw from the squad with tonsillitis. Fanteni last played for the national team in the 2-0 win over New Zealand at the 2009 Confederations Cup in New Zealand.

The striker was playing for Maccabi Haifa in Israel at the time, though returned to South Africa to join Orlando Pirates with the hope of making the South African World Cup squad.

After a disappointing season at Bucs, Fanteni was dropped from the South African training camps and did not make the 2010 squad. This season he has returned to Ajax, the club where he made his name, and with eight goals is the joint-top scorer in the Premier Soccer League with Mamelodi Sundowns striker Nyasha Mushekwi, behind Kaizer Chiefs’ Knowledge Musona (10).

With South Africa’s most consistent scorer of the last year-and-a-half, Katlego Mphela, left out of the Bafana squad for having gone awol from Mamelodi Sundowns, Fanteni (26) will aim to stake a place for the crucial African Cup of Nations qualifier against Egypt in Johannesburg on March 26.

Given South Africa’s infamous dearth of quality strikers, Mphela will be sorely missed against Egypt if he has not managed to resolve his club career by then. The speedy forward is trying to get Downs to release him to join Serbian champions Partizan Belgrade.

Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane will be hoping one of Tlou Segolela (Orlando Pirates), Thulani Serero (Ajax), Fanteni, Davide Somma (Leeds United) or Bernard Parker (Panseraikos) puts himself forward as a striking candidate against Kenya to provide cover should Mphela not be available for the Egypt game.

Bafana captain Aaron Mokoena warned at a press conference in Rustenburg yesterday that 127th-ranked Kenya should not be underestimated.

Harambee Stars coach Zedekiah “Zico” Otieno has called up a full strength squad, including Kenya’s most famous footballing export, Auxerre playmaker Dennis Oliech.

“Kenya is not as weak as many people think.

“Every country that faces South Africa just wants to do well and we have to guard against taking them lightly just because they are lower than us on the world rankings list,” Mokoena said.

Mosimane said he feels the national team should retain the name “Bafana Bafana”. The SA Football Association has been conducting a feasibility study on changing the name.

“As long as the colours are the same, it will always be the same team, but it’s not really up to me to say what the name is,” Mosimane said at first.

“But I do think that the world knows the name ‘Bafana Bafana’. Every time I meet someone and they ask what I do, I say, ‘I’m the South African coach’ and they look at me blankly. But when I say, ‘you know, Bafana Bafana’, they always realise what I’m talking about.”

By yesterday 23 of the 24 players in the Bafana squad had arrived to train in the afternoon session. Right-back Anele Ngcongca, who played in Racing Genk’s 1-0 win over Club Brugge in the Belgian Jupiler League on Sunday, was due to report last night.

Bafana have been based at the Royal Marang Hotel, which was England’s hi-tech base camp during the World Cup and stands near the Bafokeng Sports Campus, a world-class, high-altitude, sports training destination.

The 65-hectare campus comprises two hotels, a conference facility, numerous pitches and fields, a high performance gym and a medical centre.

Bafana will play in their Adidas kit tomorrow night despite the sponsorship having ended in November. Safa was to announce a new sponsor yesterday, but the media briefing was cancelled at the last minute.

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