Pressing Issues: Young blood!

2013-05-13 10:00

Benedict Dithapelo Keorapetse turned 15 on February 16. According to his dad, Mosimanegape, he’s a sharpshooter in front of goal.

This has seen the Grade 9 student travel to Spain for trials and to South America with his school soccer team in the past year.

Mosimanegape will never forget the day his son was born.

He had made all the arrangements to watch his beloved Bafana Bafana play in the 1998 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Burkina Faso.

But alas, his son had other ideas.

His wife went into labour just as he was settling down with a few cold ones and the braai meat already in the warmer.

So he only saw television highlights of how a spindly-legged, 20-year-old Benedict McCarthy scored in the eighth, 11th, 19th and 21st minutes to announce his arrival at international level with a bang.

The game was a 4-1 demolition of neighbours Namibia in front of a crowd of 9?500 at the Stade Municipal, far away in Bobo-Dioulasso.

For the record, China Uutoni scored the solitary goal for Namibia, in the 68th minute.

Benedict Saul McCarthy turns 36 on November 12, while this year’s Afcon hosted by South Africa was the ninth version since the 1998 Burkina Faso event.

Now Keorapetse, who was born the same night McCarthy made his mark with those four goals, is knocking at the door of international football.

This story brings into sharp focus just how sluggish South African football development has been, given that, had McCarthy not been injured, chances are Gordon Igesund would have roped him into his squad for the Afcon finals in January.

While it’s a nice story to relate how the 45-year-old Andre Arendse managed to come to Bidvest Wits’ rescue, with the likes of Lucky Lekgwathi, Siyabonga Nomvethe and Delron Buckley still showing our youngsters a thing or two in the domestic league, this should nevertheless not have to be the case.

Every once in while, oldies can come to the party, but only, as in Brazil, where coaches use one or two veterans in the national team to bring stability and to pass on the torch.

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