Bafana Bafana

'Benni deserved Bafana spot'

2012-05-17 20:27
Benni McCarthy (File)

Johannesburg - Veteran striker Benni McCarthy should have been included in South Africa's 27-man squad for three international matches next month, according to Orlando Pirates caretaker coach Augusto Palacios.

Palacios said on Thursday he believed McCarthy would have added value to the national outfit for crucial 2014 World Cup qualifiers against Ethiopia and Botswana and a friendly game against Gabon in June.

"Benni might have had his differences with SAFA [the SA Football Association] and Bafana administrations in the past," Palacios said.

"But he has been a reformed character while playing for Pirates this season and I have found him a model player who is disciplined and working hard in training."

The Pirates coach said McCarthy was a gifted, natural footballer with a talent for scoring.

And though he might have lost a yard or two in pace since his halcyon years with Porto and early days with Blackburn Rovers, his experience and insight could be valuable assets in securing the vital goals that have been lacking from Bafana in recent times.

"It is all very well saying Bafana must look for players for the World Cup in Brazil in 2014, but first you have to get there," Palacios said.

"Benni has shown with some sensational goals for Pirates that he could be instrumental in achieving this.

"I have known Benni well since he made a sensational debut for Bafana in the 1998 Africa Cup of Nations. I was the team's general manager then.

"While he might be a bit of an enigma at times, there is a way of getting the best out of him.

"It's not for nothing that he is Bafana's all-time top scorer."

Bafana squad:

Goalkeepers:

Itumeleng Khune, Moeneeb Josephs, Wayne Sandilands, Darren Keet

Defenders:

Punch Masenamela, Tsepo Masilela, Eric Mathoho, Siboniso Gaxa, Morgan Gould, Siyabonga Sangweni, Bongani Khumalo, Anele Ngcongca

Midfielders:

Andile Jali, May Mahlangu, Thulani Serero, Steven Pienaar (captain), Oupa Manyisa, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Mzikayise Mashaba, Siphiwe Tshabalala, Thanduyise Khuboni, Teko Modise, Lebohang Mokoena

Strikers:

Katlego Mphela, Siyabonga Nomvethe, Tokelo Rantie, Eleazor Rodgers

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