Is Dean the new Bafana captain?

2014-11-13 00:00

OVER the last two years Dean Furman has become a mainstay of the South African national side.

He has notched up 22 caps since his debut against Brazil in 2012, and is the fourth most capped player in the current Bafana Bafana squad preparing to do battle against Sudan at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday. Only Reneilwe Letsholonyane (49), Anele Ngcongca (37) and Tokelo Rantie (24) have been capped more times at international level.

Given Furman’s unwavering commitment to Bafana since his debut, as well as his unquestionable influence during that time, it is no surprise that he has come into contention to replace the late Senzo Meyiwa as captain.

A win for Bafana on Saturday would book them a place at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.

“It would be an unbelievable honour,” the Doncaster Rovers-based central midfielder said yesterday when asked about the possibility of leading his country. “But I’m not thinking about that at the moment. That would be up to the coach and his staff to decide.”

Furman paid tribute to the leadership qualities displayed by Meyiwa during his brief time at the helm, and encouraged his team-mates to all accept some element of responsibility when on the pitch.

“We saw how well Senzo captained the side in his four games and we all know what a good captain Itumeleng Khune is,” said Furman. “It’s about all of us being leaders out there. It’s not just about one individual because he’s got the armband. Every player brings their own character and identity and leadership qualities to the team.”

There was no further news from the camp yesterday on May Mahlangu’s international future. A statement released by Safa late on Tuesday night said that the IFK Göteborg (Sweden) midfielder would no longer be considered for international call-ups due to his withdrawal from the national squad because of fatigue.

“When your country comes calling it is very important to be here,” Furman said. “We obviously can’t comment on people’s individual circumstances, I can only look at myself and I know that I am very proud to be a part of this squad.”

There were reportedly 20 000 tickets sold for Saturday’s clash by yesterday morning, and Furman is expecting an electric atmosphere as Bafana look to secure their place at Afcon 2015.

“Hopefully we’ll be playing in front of a packed Moses Mabhida,” he said. “It’s very special, I’m sure the game is going to be very emotional. It’s a really special gesture for us to be playing in Senzo’s home town and we will be doing it for him in our hearts and minds.”

Coach Shakes Mashaba is likely to announce his captain tomorrow, but he will have a few selection headaches in other areas too. “We know that we have great quality in our team. We want to go out there and attack from the start and hopefully get the goals to turn the game in our favour,” said Furman.

“Nobody’s position is safe, nobody knows if they are going to start. That is the best thing at the moment. Everyone is staking a claim and nobody feels like they have any right to start.

“We have to make sure that in the week leading up to the game we impress the coach and get that shirt come Saturday.”

Saturday’s match kicks off at 3 pm.

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