Birmingham eye Mphela
Johannesburg - Bafana Bafana striker Katlego Mphela, will not allow himself to be distracted by the news that English Premiership club Birmingham City are eyeing him as a possible new signing after the Soccer World Cup.
Mphela, who top scored this season in the Premier Soccer League for second placed Mamelodi Sundowns, confirmed on Wednesday City will be watching him play during Bafana’s warm-up matches and during the World Cup finals which kick-off when Bafana host Mexico in the opening match at Soccer City on June 11.
Said Mphela after a training session under the eagle eye of Bafana head coach Carlos Alberto Parreira at Marks Park: “City have told me they are interested in signing me and have already spoken to my agent.
"They watched me during our 2-0 win over Jamaica in Germany last month, but that is as far as it went. I want to focus on helping Bafana at the World Cup before I think about a move to England.
"If I go, I go. But I am not thinking about any moves until after the World Cup. I want to play well at the World Cup and make my country proud.”
Mphela is set to lead the attack when Bafana play Thailand at the sold out Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Sunday (kick-off 15:30), but said he hoped to rediscover his goal scoring touch.
He said that although he knew little about Thailand, it would be the ideal match to add to his nine international goals in 27 appearances for his country. Goals have dried up for Mphela in 2010.
“I believe Thailand have only had one win in their last four games and that was against Singapore. They are not that strong and this will be a good chance for me to get back onto the scoring sheet.”
Mphela said if he should manage to score against the Thais, now coached by former Manchester United captain Bryan Robson, it would boost his confidence ahead of the tough World Cup programme ahead.
“It is important for me to start scoring in these friendly matches to give myself a boost before the World Cup starts, so I will be hoping to fire on all cylinders against Thailand.”
Mphela said he believed Everton Player of the Season, Steven Pienaar, would be Bafana’s key player at the global showpiece.
“Steven has had a brilliant season in England for Everton and I am looking forward to play with him. He has a lot of experience, knows when to play and when not to play the ball.
"I know I will gel with him.”