confusion over benni
There was drama at a Bafana Bafana media briefing yesterday when team officials passed the buck regarding Benni McCarthy's umpteenth snub.
Coach Joel Santana, manager Sipho Nkumane and team doctor Ephraim Nematswerani tried in vain to clear up the confusion regarding the Blackburn Rovers striker's latest no-show.
The wayward McCarthy was replaced by Katlego Mashego, while Katlego Mphela was roped in for the injured Kagisho Dikgacoi.
"Benni informed us that he was injured, [but] I spoke to the team doctor [at Rovers] who said as far as they were concerned, there was nothing wrong with the player," Nematswerani told journalists.
"Ideally, we would have loved the player to be here with us for a medical assessment but the player said he is struggling to walk and is miles away."
But Santana threw the ball in Nematswerani's court, arguing that the decision to drop McCarthy was informed by the medical reports.
"Benni sent a report to the doctor that he was injured and I also saw it. I'm not a doctor, I'm a coach. Benni is not in a position to play against Norway and Portugal," he said.
Nkumane said the final selection or dropping of players was the responsibility of the head coach.
Team captain and McCarthy's teammate at Rovers, Aaron Mokoena said: "Benni played on Saturday. I could not talk to him as I was in a rush to [get to] the airport to be here for Saturday's game."
Asked if McCarthy's latest developments could rule him out for the Confederations Cup, Santana seemed to suggest the door was still open for the player.
But in Polokwane before the game against Chile, Santana said he could not guarantee Free State Stars striker Sthembiso Ngcobo's future in the team. Ngcobo had failed to honour two successive Bafana Bafana call-ups, saying he was not ready to play at international level.
McCarthy's antics have not gone down well with the Safa top brass.
A top Safa official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: "We always have problems when he is playing regularly at his club in England ... It's time we start looking at other players, especially the young ones who will still be around for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil."