Final training camp for Bafana

2010-05-01 00:00

CARLOS Alberto Parreira wasn’t joking when he said his final squad for the 2010 World Cup is likely to be made up 70% by the local-based players the Bafana Bafana coach has just finished working with in training camps in Brazil and Germany.

Yesterday, the coach named a provisional 29-man squad for Bafana’s final training camp in Johannesburg that will build up to the World Cup. The team consists of 21 (exactly 70%) local-based players and nine foreign-based.

The camp begins on Wednesday at Wits University, again predominantly with local-based players. The overseas-based contingent are expected to join the squad as their European seasons come to an end.

This is the fourth camp for Bafana in their World Cup build-up, the first of which was held in Durban in January.

In Germany, Bafana were unimpressive in a 0-0 draw against North Korea before a much-improved showing with a 2-0 win over Jamaica in their two competitive matches. In South America they lost one game out of eight against Brazilian first division teams and drew 1-1 against Paraguay in Asuncion.

Parreira yesterday named a solid squad that has a competitive look about it. The final 23-man squad for the World Cup must be submitted to Fifa before June 1, 10 days before Bafana kick off the tournament against Mexico at Soccer City.

Parreira did not rule out possible late inclusions, such as injured SuperSport United central defender Morgan Gould, a strong candidate for the Premier Soccer League’s player of the season and reportedly a target of Blackburn Rovers.

Winger Elrio van Heerden, who has been warming the bench at Turkish club Sivasspor, was the major surprise exclusion, while there was no room for Racing Santander defender Nasief Morris, who has not been recalled since a bust-up with Parreira’s predecessor, Joel Santana, ahead of last year’s Confederations Cup.

There are just four strikers in the squad, and West Ham’s Benni McCarthy, Katlego Mphela of Mamelodi Sundowns, Siyabonga Nomvete (Moroka Swallows) and Bernard Parker (FC Twente), must be the favourites for the forward berths at 2010.

Nomvete and Surprise Moriri, included as a midfielder, but who can also play second striker, were the goal-scorers against Jamaica on Thursday night.

Injured Arminia Bielefeld goalkeeper Rowen Fernandez has been included, having assured Parreira he will be back to fitness by the World Cup. Maritzburg United ’keeper Shu-aib Walters’s chances of making the final 23 will diminish should Fernandez keep to his word.

At right-back, the race is close between Siboniso Gaxa, Bryce Moon and Anele Ngcongca for the final two positions.

Parreira said the challenge of the final camp is to integrate the foreign-based players and forge a final 23.

“This is going to be rather difficult, because we don’t know in what condition the overseas-based players will come in physically and technically.

“Some of them have played too many games — like [Everton’s] Steven Pienaar, who has played 27 games since November. Some have played half of what Pienaar played, while others started in one or two.

“So they will come here in different fitness levels, which will give our physical trainer [Francesco Gonzalez] a lot of headaches to put them in good shape for the competition.

“Nevertheless we want them to come in good spirits, ready to sacrifice and work for the team. Their experience is vital and I hope it will help improve the team’s technical level.”

Parreira said Pienaar will be given five or six days to rest before joining the Bafana camp after leaving Everton.

Crucially, SA Football Association CEO Leslie Sedibe said Bafana will now have four high-profile friendlies ahead of the World Cup. The South Africans are already scheduled to play Columbia on May 27 and Denmark on June 5, both at Soccer City.

Safa is in the late stages of wrapping up friendlies against Bulgaria on May 24 and undisclosed opponents on May 16, with at least one of these in Bloemfontein, venue of South Africa’s final Group A game against France on June 22.

Their other World Cup opponents are Uruguay in Pretoria on June 17.



Goalkeepers: Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs), Moeneeb Josephs (Orlando Pirates), Shu-Aib Walters (Maritzburg United), Rowen Fernandez (Arminia Bielefeld, Germany)

Defenders: Matthew Booth, Siboniso Gaxa, Innocent Mdledle (all Mamelodi Sundowns), Bongani Khumalo (SuperSport United), Tsepo Masilela (Maccabi Haifa, Israel), Aaron Mokoena (Portsmouth, England), Bryce Moon (PAOK, Greece), Anele Ngcongca (Racing Genk, Belgium), Siyabonga Sangweni (Lamontville Golden Arrows), Lucas Thwala (Pirates)

Midfielders: Surprise Moriri, Franklin Cale (both Sundowns), Lance Davids (Ajax Cape Town), Kagisho Dikgacoi (Fulham, England), Andile Jali, Teko Modise (both Pirates), Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Siphiwe Tshabalala (both Kaizer Chiefs), Thanduyise Khuboni (Arrows), Steven Pienaar (Everton, England), Macbeth Sibaya (Rubin Kazan, Russia)

Strikers: Benni MaCarthy (West Ham, England), Katlego Mphela (Sundowns), Siyabonga Nomvete (Moroka Swallows), Bernard Parker (FC Twente, Holland)

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