Pitso sticks with tried and tested

2010-08-06 00:00

IT might be a fresh start for Bafana Bafana, but new coach Pitso Mosimane stuck with his tried and tested in announcing his first squad of 22 players yesterday for the friendly international against Ghana at Soccer City on Wednesday.

Resisting pressure to throw in youngsters, Mosimane opted for the core of predecessor Carlos Albert Parreira’s World Cup squad, and players who were in the starting line-up in the South Africans’ final 2-1 Group A victory over France in Bloemfontein.

“It’s a reflection of my vision and the principles of continuity on the team for [the World Cup in] 2014. We need the core of the team from the World Cup to remain,” the new coach said.

“One of the reasons is that I have been for 22 days in this seat and there is not enough time to make changes.”

Mosimane said continuity was important, too, given that the domestic and European seasons have not begun yet, and all the more so with Bafana facing a crucial African Cup of Nations home qualifier against Niger early next month.

“The World Cup players have been given three weeks’ break and obviously we don’t expect to see the physical conditions at the same level. We’re not trying to make excuses — that principle applies to Ghana as well,” the coach said.

Mosimane has brought in five players who were not included in the World Cup squad, though four of these were part of Bafana’s preparations for the tournament.

The exception was the surprise selection of new Kaizer Chiefs signing Sthembiso Ngcobo.

The striker was the top scorer at Free State Stars last season, but made a poor impression by snubbing a Bafana call-up for a friendly against Chile from Joel Santana in 2009, saying he was not ready yet to play for the national team.

“Ngcobo has been in Bafana before and in my opinion is a good player, and we should give him a chance,” Mosimane said, adding that the striker had been included to provide “power and oomph up-front”.

“Don’t forget we selected Katlego Mphela for the Confederations Cup when he had only scored four goals for Sundowns, and now he is South Africa’s premier goalscorer. Sometimes we also chose players on their potential, and we cannot just continue relying on Mphela as our only striker.”

Bongani Khumalo, a stand-out performer at the World Cup, will miss the friendly with an ankle injury.

This has opened the path for SuperSport United team-mate Morgan Gould — the PSL’s 2009/10 player of the year, and who had been tipped for a starting place at the World Cup before being ruled out through injury — to re-stake a claim in central defence.

Orlando Pirates’ new midfield signing, Daine Klate, Bucs leftback Innocent Mdledle and Hapoel Tel Aviv central defender Bevan Fransman are the other three included who missed out on the World Cup.

Mosimane might come in for criticism for selecting 32-year-old defensive midfielder Macbeth Sibaya ahead of younger blood. But Sibaya had a stormer in Bafana’s win against France, was South Africa’s second-best player after Steven Pienaar in the last year-and-a-half, is vastly experienced and could have a crucial role to play in the Afcon qualifiers.

“There will also be the Cosafa Cup and the CHAN [African Nations Championship] to begin to blood younger players,” Mosimane stressed.

Safa CEO Leslie Sedibe said 30 000 tickets, at R100 each, have been sold for the international.

Bafana squad

Goalkeepers: Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs), Moeneeb Josephs (Orlando Pirates)

Defenders: Morgan Gould (SuperSport United), Siboniso Gaxa (Mamelodi Sundowns), Tsepo Masilela (Maccabi Haifa, Israel), Bevan Fransman (Hapoel Tel Aviv, Israel), Siyabonga Sangweni (Lamtonville Golden Arrows), Innocent Mdledle (Pirates), Aaron Mokoena (Portsmouth, England), Anele Ngconca (Racing Genk, Belgium)

Midfielders: Daine Klate (Pirates), Teko Modise (Pirates), Siphiwe Tshabalala (Chiefs), Reneilwe Letsholonyane (Chiefs), Macbeth Sibaya (Rubin Kazan, Russia), Kagisho Dikgacoi (Fulham, England), Steven Pienaar (Everton, England), Thanduyise Khuboni (Arrows), Surprise Moriri (Sundowns)

Strikers: Sthembiso Ngcobo (Chiefs), Katlego Mphela (Sundowns), Bernard Parker (FC Twente, Holland)

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