No Place for Benni at Confed

2009-05-07 00:00

ALTHOUGH Benni McCarthy has found his scoring form at Blackburn Rovers recently, national team coach Joel Santana has resisted the temptation to call up the striker to the provisional 30-man Bafana Bafana squad for the Confederations Cup in June.

The provisional squad was announced in Johannesburg yesterday — sans South Africa’s all-time top scorer — and will be cut to 23 for the final squad that will be finalised by June 4, in time for Bafana’s final warm-up against Poland at Orlando Stadium on June 6. McCarthy will play no role in the eight-nation tournament.

South Africa’s locally based players begin a training camp — including matches against a First Division team and Mauritius — in Johannesburg from May 13. The overseas-based contingent will join the camp from June 1. Bafana open the Confed Cup with their Group A match against Iraq at Ellis Park on June 14, then play New Zealand on June 17 and Spain on June 20.

Santana yesterday refused to comment on his decision to drop McCarthy, the striker who has turned his back on Bafana on countless occasions and performed with less zeal for the national team than his European clubs. Last month McCarthy claimed to be injured and missed friendly matches against Norway and Portugal.

Santana’s move has been met with acclaim by South African coaches, including Maritzburg United boss Gordon Igesund.

“I’m happy the coach has finally made this decision regarding Benni McCarthy. This is a good lesson that there is no player bigger than the country and that everyone deserves the same treatment,” Igesund told

“I have my own reservations concerning some of the players in the squad who I don’t think deserve to be included as they have not been active for their respective teams.

“[Lamontville Golden Arrows striker] Richard Henyekane should have been included based on form. He is our top goalscorer and has been one of the best players at Arrows this season.”

Former SA under-23 assistant coach Kenny Ndlazi said: “This is the time that Benni should do some soul-searching and decide if he still has the interest of the country at heart. Santana’s decision to leave out Benni should be applauded.”

Henyekane’s non-inclusion was one of the few decisions to raise eyebrows in an otherwise standard squad made up of players who have been consistently called up by Santana and predecessor Carlos Alberto Parreira.

Another surprise was 35-year-old Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper Brian Baloyi. Santana has included four goalkeepers — the others are Rowen Fernandez, Moeneeb Josephs and Itumeleng Khune — who will be whittled down to three for the final squad.

Another problem area, exacerbated by McCarthy’s absence, has been at striker, where five players are included — Terror Fanteni, Mabhudi Khenyeza, Katlego Mashego, Katlego Mphela and Bernard Parker, with Mashego and Parker the certainties to be in the final four.

“The list of players is a culmination of the programme started by Carlos Alberto Parreira in 2007 together with assistant coaches Pitso Mosimane and Jairo Leal when the road map to the 2010 World Cup began,” Santana said.

“When I arrived 11 months ago I continued with this process of looking at new talent and giving the identified players international experience.

“If players have been dropped for the Confed, that does not mean they will not be considered for the 2010 World Cup. This applies to players who are also not in the provisional list of 30.”

The Confederations Cup consists of World Cup winners Italy, continental champions Spain, Brazil, Egypt Iraq, New Zealand and USA, and hosts South Africa. The final is on June 28.


Goalkeepers: Brian Baloyi (Mamelodi Sundowns), Rowen Fernandez (Arminia Bielefeld, Germany), Moeneeb Josephs (Orlando Pirates), Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs) Defenders: Matthew Booth, Siboniso Gaxa (both Sundowns), Bongani Khumalo, Morgan Gould (both SuperSport United), Tsepo Masilela (Maccabi Haifa, Israel), Innocent Mdledle, Lucas Thwala (both Pirates), Aaron Mokoena (Blackburn Rovers, England), Bryce Moon (Panathinaikos, Greece), Nasief Morris (Recreativo de Huela, Spain) Midfielders: Lance Davids (SuperSport), Kagisho Dikgacoi (Golden Arrows), Benson Mhlongo, Teko Modise (both Pirates) Surprise Moriri (Sundowns), Masilo Modubi (Westerlo, Belgium), Siyabonga Nkosi (Maccabi Netanya, Israel), Steven Pienaar (Everton, England), Macbeth Sibaya (Rubin Kazan, Russia), Siphiwe Tshabalala (Chiefs), Elrio van Heerden (Club Brugge, Belgium) Strikers: Thembinkosi Fanteni (Maccabi Haifa, Israel), Mabhuti Khenyeza (Ajax Cape Town), Katlego Mashego (Pirates), Katlego Mphela (Sundowns).

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