benni defies safa again

SPORT - SOCCER - ARCHIVE: Bafana Bafana Benni McCarthy in Sandton, Johannesburg. PHOTO: ANTONIO MUCHAVE
SPORT - SOCCER - ARCHIVE: Bafana Bafana Benni McCarthy in Sandton, Johannesburg. PHOTO: ANTONIO MUCHAVE

BENNI McCarthy has defied Safa again, this time snubbing a mandatory media briefing at the team's hotel in Johannesburg yesterday.

BENNI McCarthy has defied Safa again, this time snubbing a mandatory media briefing at the team's hotel in Johannesburg yesterday.

The West Ham striker was one of the two players selected to speak to the media yesterday, but he failed to come to the briefing and had to be replaced by Matthew Booth at the 11th hour. Booth had spoken to the media last week.

Kagisho Dikgacoi was the other player selected to speak to the media and the Fulham midfielder duly answered questions from journalists.

The explanation given by Bafana media officer Matlhomola Morake was that McCarthy's absence was due to "unforeseen internal matters" that needed urgent attention.

Yet a few hours earlier, Safa sent out a media invitation (see below) confirming that McCarthy would speak to the media.

Morake later told the media that McCarthy and captain Aaron "Mbazo" Mokoena would speak to the media on Saturday.

This was spin. McCarthy was clearly not keen to interact with the media and Safa could apparently do nothing about it.

McCarthy was also at the same hotel with Bafana Bafana and did not bother to go into the press room.

It is believed McCarthy was angered by media reports in a Brazilian newspaper that quoted Bafana Bafana physical trainer Francisco Gonzalez as saying that Bafana's leading goalscorer was "too fat" and in danger of being left out of coach Carlos Alberto Parreira's final World Cup squad.

Parreira himself had earlier made similar statements.

According to the report, McCarthy was "not in the right condition, but will be offered all the support necessary so he can get back into shape".

The irascible Bafana forward could also have been angered by having not being considered for the international friendly against Thailand in Nelspruit on Sunday.

"His physical state is inferior to that of the rest of his team. What's the point of having an athlete who isn't in a good physical condition and therefore useless to the trainer?" Gonzalez was quoted as saying.

South Africa's leading striker started just two games for West Ham after joining them in January.

Meanwhile, it is not clear why the captain will be made available on the day of the Nedbank Cup final between Bidvest Wits and AmaZulu.

The final will also mark the opening of the revamped Soccer City.

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