Mokoena surprised by Benni’s exclusion from Bafana squad

2008-01-09 00:00

BAFANA Bafana captain Aaron Mokoena admits he was surprised when he heard that Blackburn Rovers team-mate Benni McCarthy was not included in South Africa’s squad for this month’s African Nations Cup.

By yesterday, the entire squad had reported for Bafana’s Nations Cup training camp. The last missing member, Steven Pienaar, arrived too late to take part in the afternoon training session at Chatsworth Stadium, having initially been held back by his club, Everton.

Blackburn striker McCarthy was the shock omission by coach Carlos Alberto Parreira, who opted for a squad slanted towards youth for the Nations Cup, which begins in Ghana on January 20.

"Benni’s one of the best strikers we have in the country and I was surprised," Mokoena said of the omission of the second-top scorer in the Premiership last season. McCarthy was lured back from international exile by Parreira in September.

"But Carlos made it very clear that he knows what Benni can do, and that he wants to give these youngsters a chance. As you know we’re building for 2010. But really I was a bit surprised."

Mokoena will be playing in his fourth Nations Cup, though he missed Bafana’s last finals campaign in Egypt after being unceremoniously axed by caretaker-coach Ted Dumitru. The Bafana skipper said he hopes the team will improve on their performance two years ago, where an inexperienced side lost all three games and failed to score a goal.

"I don’t really know what went wrong at the previous Cup of Nations as I wasn’t there. I have played in three Nations Cups and I know how hard it is. I believe that Ghana is going to be a really good experience for the talent we have."

Bafana have been dogged by reports of a contractual dispute. Asked about the spirit in the team now that the issue, according to Safa, has been resolved, Mokoena replied: "We feel well. We have worked hard for the second day now and I am impressed at the attitude."

The injury to right-back Vuyo Mere, who has been replaced by Bloemfontein Celtic’s Tumelo Nhlapo, has thrust the spotlight on Ajax Cape Town’s Bryce Moon.

Pietermaritzburg-bred Moon, an up-and-coming fringe national team player a few months ago, who forced himself into the reckoning with some inspired performances for Ajax, will now go to Ghana as Bafana’s number one right-back.

"I didn’t say to myself I was going to be in the team, but I did have expectations of making it," Moon said. "I left home at 12 years old to go to the School of Excellence and now all the hard work is paying off slowly. It’s my first tournament of this calibre and hopefully I am going to do well."

Moon said of Bafana’s chances: "We’re a young team, but we want to show the world what we are capable of, so I think we are going to do well. We’re going for gold."

Bafana play friendlies against Mozambique (January 12) and Botswana (January 16), before departing for Ghana on the 18th.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.