McCarthy, Mathoho out of South Africa Afcon 2013 Squad due to injury
Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund will not be too happy a coach now as two of his Afcon 2013 hopefuls Benni MacCarthy and central defender Mulomowandau suffered injury blows few weeks to the star of the 2013 Afcon tournament in South Africa.
Benni McCarthy’s international career was about to be resurrected again with his inclusion into the final 23-man squad of South Africa but the Orlando Pirates striker suffered another hamstring tear and it has been confirmed now that the injury will prevent the veteran striker from shining.
Coach Gordon Igesund also admitted that Mulomowandau Mathoho, the central defender will be missing from the line-up of South Africa as well as his club Kaizer Chiefs, told Igesund he would be out for ‚Äúfour to five weeks‚ÄĚ.
Igesund said that the two players are a serious blow to his ambition into the Afcon 2013.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs really a blow to lose these two players,‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúIn Mathoho‚Äôs case, it‚Äôs an even bigger blow because he‚Äôs a young player who was fighting for a place in the team. I had been watching him in the last few weeks and he was Man of the Match on two or three occasions.‚ÄĚ
While some will express empathy towards Mathoho, many will feel McCarthy‚Äôs withdrawal was a blessing in disguise, given his fitness challenges in the last three years, which saw him dropped from World Cup 2010.
In any case, Igesund had already suffered embarrassment by selecting a clearly unfit McCarthy, who holds a Bafana record of 31 goals, in the coach‚Äôs very first match in September, when he lasted only nine minutes after coming on as a substitute.
There was a bit of good news for Igesund, however, when all but two of the now 34-man squad reported for camp and trained at Orlando Stadium on Thursday.
Siyanda Xulu and Anele Ngcongca were set to land in the country on Thursday night, joining the team for two training sessions at the Soweto venue today.
Igesund was particularly pleased to have Thulani Serero in camp for the first time, banishing earlier fears that the Ajax Amsterdam playmaker would miss the Nations Cup after suffering serious injury.
‚ÄúI had a chat with him and he‚Äôs fine. I thought he would play for 50-60 minutes, but he played for the entire game for his club (last weekend),‚ÄĚ the Bafana coach said of Serero, who makes a return to the national team for the first time since June.
Igesund names his final squad on Sunday, but admitted he faces a tough time having to cut 11 players from the side.
He‚Äôs undecided as to whether he should tell the players he‚Äôll drop before they leave camp after Saturday‚Äôs final training session, or if he should personally telephone them moments before naming the team on Sunday afternoon.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs very tough ‚Ä¶ I haven‚Äôt decided how I‚Äôm going to do this,‚ÄĚ Igesund said.
‚ÄúIf I tell players after Saturday‚Äôs session, this could be all over Twitter and social media before I name the team (on Sunday).
‚ÄúI prefer this to be done as professionally as possible, have a one-on-one with a player and tell him why you excluded him. But I really still don‚Äôt know how I‚Äôm going to do this.‚ÄĚ
Igesund, however, emphasised the time for experimenting was over. ‚ÄúAt the end of the day, I have to make decisions. In my mind I know who‚Äôs going to be in my team.
‚ÄúRight now, I can give you 19 certain names. It‚Äôs crucial that we get the right balance. If a player is not selected, that doesn‚Äôt mean he‚Äôs not good,‚ÄĚ said Igesund.
Utility players who could play in more than one position, Igesund revealed, stand a good chance. ‚ÄúI might sacrifice a defender for a player who can offer more attack. But I will see how this camp goes,‚ÄĚ Igesund concluded.