Johannesburg - Former Bafana Bafana captain Aaron Mokoena believes players who come back to the PSL after spending time in top European leagues have a huge role to play in local football.
Speaking at the launch of the Bokone Bophirima Maize Cup in Klerksdorp, North West, a few days ago, Mokoena said PSL clubs should welcome those players who want to finish their careers in the domestic league as their experience would come in handy.
“We have been blessed by gaining domestic and international experience. We need to be given that opportunity when we come back home,” said the former Blackburn Rovers player.
Mbazo was referring mainly to fellow former Bafana skipper Steven Pienaar, who wants to end his career in the PSL.
“If you look at what Benni [McCarthy] did when he came back from Europe and played for Orlando Pirates, you will understand why Steven has a lot to offer.
“The return of Steven will help in terms of ploughing back and helping inexperienced players".
Mokoena played as a teenager at Jomo Cosmos before embarking on a decade-long career in Europe with stints in the Netherlands, Belgium and England.
On the national team’s participation in the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) Cup on Sunday, he said players representing the national team were not youngsters, but just inexperienced.
“In this country, we have a problem of not understanding what a youngster is. If you are over 18, you are no longer a youngster.
“[However], these boys will gain valuable experience. The tournament will give Stuart Baxter a chance to identify players who will help the [senior] national team in future.”
The third instalment of the Maize Cup will take place on July 15 at James Motlatsi Stadium in Orkney. Hosts Platinum Stars will take on Free State Stars in the first semifinal. Kaizer Chiefs face Botswana’s league champions Township Rollers in the second semifinal.
North West Sport and Recreation MEC Sello Lehari said last year’s winners – Pirates – would not have declined the invitation to participate. However, the Soweto giants’ administrative officer, Floyd Mbele, told City Press that Pirates did not receive an invitation.