'Mokoena musn't be chopped'

2010-09-15 14:12

Johannesburg - Former Bafana Bafana captain Neil Tovey has rushed to the defence of Aaron Mokoena following strong criticism.

Fans of the national team are slowly losing patience with the Portsmouth defender and it may only get worse the more he plays.

However, Tovey has backed the 29-year-old skipper, admitting that some of the criticism is unwarranted.

"We are certainly being too harsh on him (Mokoena). He has more than 100 caps for the country and you can't be a bad player if you play that many games for the national team," Tovey told The Sowetan.

"It's true that we have an abundance of talent like Bongani Khumalo, Morgan Gould and Siyabonga Sangweni coming through, but his experience of a 100-odd caps is vital and we cannot do without it."

Tovey insists that experience is key during tough African Cup of Nations qualifying campaigns and has urged selectors not to heed the supporter's calls.

"I'd certainly keep him in the make-up of the team. Home games won't be the same as away games and we need people who will get stuck in," he added.

Bafana Bafana's next AFCON qualifier is against Sierra Leone in Freetown next month.