Jali’s omission raises questions

2013-03-17 10:00

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If form, and form alone, was used as a barometer for call-ups to the national team, Andile Jali would walk into it with his eyes closed. But form is temporary and class is permanent, right?

This saying has not helped the diminutive, but very combative, midfielder earn a call-up.

As a possible explanation for why Bafana coach Gordon Igesund continues to overlook him, Jali might be a victim of his own words.

In October, the Orlando Pirates midfielder gave a no-holds-barred interview with weekly soccer publication Soccer Laduma, in which he said he did not care about the national team.

This could not have gone down too well with Igesund.

When asked about Jali this week, Igesund said: “I don’t want to talk about players who are not here.”

But he had time to explain the reasons he dropped Bongani Khumalo and Thulani Serero ahead of the crucial clash against Central African Republic.

The question is: what more does Jali have to do to earn a place in the Bafana line-up?

This is the question many people were asking after the team was announced this week.

Jali has not returned to the team after he was left out of the Africa Cup of Nations.

Although Igesund has maintained he has no beef with the Pirates midfielder, on current form Jali deserves to be in the team, even ahead of his talented club team-mate Oupa Manyisa, who looks fatigued.

Igesund has always defended his decision to leave Jali (22) out, saying he has enough midfielders, and there is no place in the squad for him.

But he has also said the door has not been closed on Jali and, if he keeps working hard, his day will come.

The jury is still out, though, on Kagisho Dikgacoi’s presence in the team as the Crystal Palace midfielder has been something of a liability recently.

Bafana’s big clash

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