bafana missing magic formula

CARLOS Alberto Parreira has missed another chance to look at potential Bafana Bafana world-beaters.

Announcing his 29-member squad for training camps in Brazil and Germany yesterday, Parreira again failed to look at why Bafana were the best in Africa in 1996.

They had a big forward in Philemon Masinga and Doctor "16" Khumalo's trickery in the midfield benefitted the national squad.

And there are potential Masingas like Sthembiso Ngcobo of Free State Stars. In fact, Ngcobo could be a tinge better than Masinga because, besides speed, he can take on defenders and is an excellent passer of the ball. There is also Kaizer Chiefs's burly box player Nkosinathi Nhleko, whose physique could work wonders for Bafana.

There is a potential Doctor Khumalo in Mark Mayambela. Few players in the Premiership can slice through opposition defences like Mayambela. Add to that is his pace, strength, work rate and shooting and you have a potential world-beater in the left-footed Bloemfontein Celtic midfielder.

Parreira had nothing to lose by including the two in his squad. After all, it is going to be - or is supposed to be - a serious conditioning and polishing of skills exercise. He could easily have dumped them if they failed the test.

The players who were selected yesterday for the camps form the core of Parreira's final squad for the 2010 World Cup.

The squad is mostly made up of Mamelodi Sundowns players and this leaves one wondering if Parreira gave himself ample time to assess players from other clubs.

Surprise, surprise! Surprise Moriri has made it into the squad after playing a handful of matches for the Brazilians.

He played mostly as a substitute in his comeback matches late last year, when hHe replaced Franklin Cale in the 79th minute against Kaizer Chiefs on December 19. He got in four minutes against cross-town rivals and league champions SuperSport United in their last match before the festive break on December 22.

He also came on as a substitute against Ajax Cape Town, Santos and Moroka Swallows in subsequent matches.

Perhaps Parreira has a surprise in store for us in Moriri, but it looks like the Brazilians' midfielder will struggle to rediscover the form that once made him revered in the Premiership.

Parreira's continued faith in Lance Davids is also mystifying. Maybe he is selected because of his experience overseas.

Thulasizwe Mbuyane is also in the squad and his inclusion really boggles the mind considering that there are players like Erwin Isaacs and Eleazar Rodgers who can do much better than the Orlando Pirates player. Patrick Malokase and Abia Nale would not have been bad choices either.

Parreira could also afford to do without Richard Henyekane, who has failed to impress at international level.

Though the rearguard looks rather solid, there is still place for Platinum Stars defender Mbulelo "OJ" Mabizela, who could have been overlooked after hugely talented defender bragged to Sowetan in January that he was a far better defender than some in the national squad.

It is refreshing, though, to have Lebohang "Cheeseboy" Mokoena back in the Bafana fold after such a long time.

The speedy Downs winger is on top of his game and Parreira is hoping that he will continue with his rich vein in form and come in handy for Bafana.

Parreira surprised many people when he dropped Downs midfielder Matthew Pattison. He preferred Thanduyise Khuboni, who was named man of the match against Namibia on Wednesday.

But the squad has some good players capable to be in the final World Cup squad. They include Itumeleng Khune, Katlego "Killer" Mphela, Bongani Khumalo, Matthew Booth, Simphiwe Tshabalala, Siyabonga Sangweni and Daine Klate.

The Bafana squad:

Goalkeepers - Khune, Moeneeb Josephs, Emile Baron;

Defenders - Booth, Lucas Thwala, Sangweni, Siyanda Xulu, Khumalo, Gaxa, Innocent Mdledle;

Midfielders - Teko Modise, Gert Schalkwyk, Moriri, Tshabalala, Khuboni, Davids, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Tlou Segolela, Mokoena, Klate, Kermit Erasmus, Andile Jali, Cale, Mabuyane, Daylon Claasen, Thabo Nthethe;

Forwards - Mphela, Henyekane and Thulani Serero.

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