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recall 'oj' to bafana

By Mogomotsi Selebi selebim@sowetan.co.za | Jan 11, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

PLATINUM Stars coach Steve Komphela believes it is an opportune time for defender Mbulelo "OJ" Mabizela to be recalled to the Bafana Bafana squad.

Mabizela, who was Bafana Bafana's youngest ever captain, has been in a rich vein of form lately and his aggression at the back has prompted many in football circles to ask for his recall to the Bafana fold.

Komphela, a former defender himself, strongly believes Mabizela can still deliver at the highest level.

"He is brave, talented and naturally gifted and if you combine all those elements you have a very good player," said Komphela yesterday. "He is very comfortable on the ball, in the air and is tactically good and as a centre-back you need all those factors to succeed in this game."

Bafana's first-ever captain said Mabizela had also expressed a burning desire to return to the senior national squad.

"He has told me several times that he would like to play for Bafana Bafana again and to be honest with you, I don't think he will add to the numbers when he returns to the national team.

"He said it when I first arrived here (at Platinum Stars) and at first I thought it was just all talk, but now I can assure you that he is ready and willing to be part of Bafana Bafana."

When asked who should be sacrificed for Mabizela, Komphela was somewhat cagey.

"Let them fight it out for positions. We need to create a competitive environment as this will benefit the national team in the long run. It is good for the team to have a healthy competition in all departments."

Komphela also said he was not worried that Mabizela would go off the rails should he not be selected to play at the World Cup.

"I have shared my experience with both him and Nassief (Morris) because even though I had played for the national team for a long time, Clive Barker did not select me for the African Cup of Nations in 1996. I tried to show them that it was not the end of the world. At 29, Mabizela is not young any more and he has to create a platform where he can make money from the sport and I think he also realises that."

Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Parreira is expected to announce the squad of local players this week for a camp that starts in Durban on Friday.

It ends on January 28.


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