Bafana Bafana

Mosimane reveals Mphela bond

2011-04-04 09:30
Pitso Mosimane (Gallo)
Johannesburg - Katlego Mphela has long been considered one of Pitso Mosimane's favourites and the Bafana Bafana boss admits he has plenty of belief in his star striker.

When the Mamelodi Sundowns ace, who was plagued by injury and only managed four goals in the season leading up to the 2009 Confederations Cup, was selected for the tournament - there was an outcry from the public.

Most of the criticism was levelled at then coach Joel Santana, but Mosimane revealed it was he who convinced the Brazilian to include Mphela in the squad.

The forward netted twice against Spain - one strike of which was a free kick that was shortlisted as a Goal of the Tournament nominee.

Explaining the method behind his madness, Mosimane told The Times: "I lobbied him (Santana) to include Mphela. He said I was crazy because Katlego had scored only four goals all season.

"Jairo helped me to convince him. Everybody knows what Mphela did against Spain and what he has been doing for Bafana ever since."

'Killer' also needed the help of Mosimane following his decision to go AWOL from Chloorkop this season, with the Bafana coach having to drive to Brits to talk to the striker, before arranging a meeting with club president Patrice Motsepe.

Mphela once again repaid the coach's faith in him, by bagging plenty of goals for the Brazilians upon his return and netting the crucial winner against Egypt in an African Nations Cup qualifier.

But Mosimane wants to see more from the hitman: more goals, more mental strength and more responsibility to become the side's talisman.

"His weakness is that he does not take half the chances we create," said Mosimane of Mphela.

"I still want to see him in Europe performing at a higher level consistently. Only then will I rank him as a top African striker like (Didier) Drogba and (Samuel) Eto'o.

"Those two carry their clubs (Chelsea and Inter Milan) and countries (Ivory Coast and Cameroon). Mphela must develop that mental toughness."

The PSL's top scorer for 2009/2010 has his heart set on a move abroad and if Sundowns keep their promise to him, Mphela could be exposed to the kind of conditions Mosimane feels will help his growth as a player.

And that can only benefit the national team. 

Read more on:    pitso mosimane  |  katlego mphela
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