Heartbreak for United’s Bryce Moon, but elation for Shu-aib Walters

2010-06-02 00:00

IT was heartbreak for Pietermaritzburg-bred right-back Bryce Moon at the announcement of Bafana Bafana’s final World Cup squad yesterday, but elation for Maritzburg United goalkeeper Shu-aib Walters.

Moon was one of the surprise exclusions from coach Carlos Alberto Parreira’s squad, with 22-year-old Genk defender Anele Ngcongca preferred to the player from POAK in Greece.

Ngcongca is perhaps seen as having better defensive qualities than the pacy Moon, who was converted from a winger to a full-back early in his career — ironically, by Bafana’s Brazilian coach.

For Walters, the place in Bafana’s World Cup squad marks a remarkable turnaround in his career. The goalkeeper had been warming the bench for Bloemfontein Celtic for months before being loaned to United halfway through the past PSL season, where a string of impressive performances earned a call-up to Bafana’s training camp in Brazil as a replacement for the injured Emille Baron.

Walters was chosen for the final squad ahead of Rowen Fernandez, who has had recent injury problems of his own.

“My mind has had a lot of emotion and excitement about it since the moment of the announcement,” Walters told The Witness last night. “I would like to thank Maritzburg United for the opportunity they have given me.”

He added: “I always thought I had a chance of being part of the World Cup squad. Obviously every player dreams about it.

“But obviously when I had my injury and wasn’t playing I knew that my chances were going to be slim.

“I’ve worked hard this season and in the training camps and I’m very proud that I have made it.”

Of concern for United is that Walters is now much sought after and reports are that Ajax Cape Town might make an offer to Celtic for the goalkeeper.

Moon, meanwhile, pledged his support for Bafana.

“Obviously I am disappointed, but I am a professional and I can handle the situation. I have no hard feelings, but will support the team for the World Cup,” he said.

“I am a South African and will support the boys all the way. I am confident that they will do well during the tournament. My focus will be on doing well next season and I am confident that I will bounce back and return back to Bafana Bafana in future.”

Safa CEO Leslie Sedibe, meanwhile, said at the squad announcement that a bonus package has been agreed on between Safa and the Bafana players, though he did not elaborate on the details.

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