Benni out of World Cup squad

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Johannesburg - West Ham United striker, Benni McCarthy, was the major casualty when the Bafana Bafana final 23-man World Cup squad was announced on Tuesday.

Bafana assistant coach Pitso Mosimane announced the final squad a few hours before the 1 June FIFA deadline.

Before announcing the final squad, Mosimane said it was sad to pull out the plug on three months of training with the five heart-broken players, adding that tough decision had to be made by the coaches.

Another surprise omission from the World Cup squad was Rowen Fernandez, of the German club Arminia Bielefeld, who only played once as a substitute this season.

Also left out from the roster to represent the host nation was Bryce Moon, Mamelodi Sundowns left back midfield, Franklin Cale and teammate, Innocent Mdledle.

Bafana head coach Carlos Parreira said it was a very difficult decision to make, indicating that some of the players who have been left out have been with him since the Durban training camp in January.

Parreira said his decision of leaving out the five players was based on certain principles which include physical condition, technical level, tactical knowledge, discipline as well as adjusting to the shape of the team.

"It was a very difficult and sad decision to make, but at the end of the day, we have to follow the rules and regulations because FIFA wants only 23 players. But I would like to thank them very much for their efforts, don't lose hope, just keep your heads high and remember that you are not failures. This is a sad time for everyone in the team," he said.

South African Football Association (Safa) president Kirsten Nematandani said throughout the preparation stages, Bafana players have been great ambassadors for the country.

"We played a number of friendly international matches abroad, we also set up camps in Brazil and Germany and our boys remained disciplined throughout and for that we thank them dearly.

"Most of the players who received the national-call-up might not have made it to the final 23, but they have developed mentally, physically and technically.

"To all the players who did not make the list, it is not the end of the road, you still have brilliant careers ahead of you and we will call upon in future," he said.

Safa Chief Executive Officer, Leslie Sedibe used the opportunity to thank South Africans for their tremendous support for the national team.

"In every corner of our country, we are ready to host the world and fly our flags for both South Africa and Bafana Bafana.

"South Africans have in their masses come out in support of our team. It touches our hearts to see the visible commitment when driving around and more so to be met by the sea of yellow shirts every Football Friday.

"We are also immensely lucky to have a coach of his (head coach Carlos Parreira) calibre working with our squad and we are forever grateful for the commitment and passion he has shown in getting our boys ready for this tournament," he said.

The final squad players are Itumeleng Khune, Moeneeb Josephs, Shu-Aib-Walters, Aaron Mokoena, Matthew Booth, Siboniso Gaxa, Bongani Khumalo, Tsepo Masilela, Anele Ngcongca, Lucas Thwala, Siyabonga Sangweni, Lance Davids, Kagisho Dikgacoi, Thanduyise Khuboni, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Teko Modise, Surprise Moriri, Steven Pienaar, Siphiwe Tshabalala, Macbeth Sibaya, Katlego Mphela, Siyabonga Nomvete and Bernard Parker.