bafana too soft upfront

THE 29-member Bafana Bafana squad announced by coach Carlos Alberto Parreira on Wednesday for a two-week training camp in Durban paints a picture of a country that does not have bite up front.

THE 29-member Bafana Bafana squad announced by coach Carlos Alberto Parreira on Wednesday for a two-week training camp in Durban paints a picture of a country that does not have bite up front.

Our strike force in this squad is namby-pamby and does not inspire confidence.

It would have made sense for Parreira and his selectors to rope in players who have been spitting fire, though some have been frozen out by their club coaches.

Apart from Katlego "Killer" Mphela, the frontline does not seem to have the hunger and strength to stick it out against some of the most clinically robust defenders in the world.

To make up for these shortfalls, Parreira would not have done badly by including Kaizer Chiefs attacker Nkosinathi Nhleko.

Nhleko is a busy, bustling forward who can hassle any defender. Even giant England captain John Terry would not be on easy street against this powerful striker.

Mabhuti Khenyeza was also overlooked, ostensibly because of his notorious disappearing acts when he was called up in the past. But he should not be judged on his past mistakes.

Khenyeza might not be scoring enough to please many Mamelodi Sundowns devotees, but the striker has the talent and poise. He also sets up goals for Mphela and company and he remains a vital cog for Bafana.

The Santos duo of Eleazar Rodgers and Erwin Isaacs also deserve a look-in at the camp. The same goes for S'thembiso Ngcobo of Free State Stars.

Not trying to sound like one gloating Mbulaeni "OJ" Mabizela, I think these players can do much better than Gert Schalkwyk and Thulasizwe Mbuyane, whose inclusion in the squad raised eyebrows.

Richard Henyekane is also average and is yet to make an impression in the national setup. Calvin Kadi might be struggling to find the net in recent matches after a blistering start to the season, but the Bidvest Wits striker could do better than the likes of Schalkwyk. Ajax Cape Town's Nathan Paulse is also a better bet up front.

In midfield, Parreira should have added a touch of sizzle, brilliance and class by roping in Mark Mayambela.

Few players in the Absa Premiership can eliminate opponents with such ease.

This Bloemfontein Celtic wizard boasts a powerful left foot.

Add to that his strength and bravery and you have someone to make the world sit up and take notice.

Mabizela has also done enough to be in the camp but his much-denounced utterances in Sowetan on Tuesday might have cost him a place in the squad.

The entire squad is made up of players from the Premier Soccer League.

Though Parreira says the door is still open for other PSL players who were not selected on Wednesday, time is no longer on the Bafana mentor's side to adequately assess more players for the final World Cup squad.

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