BAFANA Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Parreira has snubbed Mbulelo "OJ" Mabizela despite being aware that his defence has been leaking for some time.
This came after Mabizela bragged to Sowetan on Tuesday that he deserved a call-up, adding that he was far better than some of the Bafana defenders. He said he was a better player than SuperSport United skipper Bongani Khumalo or Maccabi Netanya's Bevan Fransman.
But Khumalo got the nod ahead of Mabizela when he was drafted into the 29-member squad announced by Parreira for a training camp in Durban.
The squad was announced yesterday.
The utterances by Mabizela, who is notorious for his disappearing acts, are believed to have not gone down well with Parreira and his selectors.
The Brazilian mentor said: "I want dedicated players who want to play for their country. My criteria in selecting players for this squad were not based only on ability and skill, but also on their discipline."
Meanwhile, talented attacking midfielder Thulani Serero has described his selection as the biggest gift this year.
The camp starts tomorrow in Durban, where the team will also play two matches against Swaziland and Zimbabwe.
Bafana manager Sipho Nkumane said the 29 players will not get caps for the Swaziland game.
New players in the team include Andile Jali, Happy Jele (both of Orlando Pirates), Lunvhengo Mngomeni, Matthew Pattison, Siyanda Xulu (all Mamelodi Sundowns) and Tlou Segolela (Bloemfontein Celtic).
The selection of Pirates attacking midfielder Gert Schalkwyk came as a surprise considering that he is not playing regularly. Conspicuous by his absence is hard-working Sundowns striker Mabhuti Khenyeza, despite doing well for his club.
Goalkeepers - Emile Baron (SuperSport United), Moeneeb Josephs (Pirates), Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs);
Defenders - Matthew Booth, Siboniso Gaxa, Luvhengo Mungomeni, Innocent Mdledle, Siyanda Xulu (all from Sundowns), Morgan Gould, Bongani Khumalo (both SS United), Happy Jele, Lucas Thwala (both Pirates), Siyabonga Sangweni (Lamontville Golden Arrows);
Midfielders - Andile Jali, Teko Modise (both Pirates), Lance Davids (Ajax Cape Town), Franklyn Cale, Matthew Pattison (both Sundowns), Daine Klate (SS United), Siphiwe Tshabalala, Reneilwe Letsholonyane (both Chiefs), Thabo Nthethe, Tlou Segolela (both Celtic);
Strikers - Gert Schalkwyk (Pirates), Katlego Mphela (Sundowns), Richard Henyekane (Arrows), Thulani Serero (Ajax CT) and Thulasizwe Mbuyane (Pirates).