Aubrey Modiba takes Bafana snub on the chin

Aubrey Modiba says he understands that Bafan Bafana coach Stuart Baxter was looking for specialists, rather than versatile players.
Aubrey Modiba says he understands that Bafan Bafana coach Stuart Baxter was looking for specialists, rather than versatile players.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

SuperSport United utility winger Aubrey Modiba is a disappointed man following his unexpected exclusion from the Bafana Bafana Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) squad.

When Bafana coach Stuart Baxter revealed his 28-man provisional Afcon squad at Safa House on Tuesday, many had expected Modiba to get the nod, especially after featuring in three of the six qualifiers en route to the finals.

"I am a bit disappointed because I think I've worked hard to make the squad. But yeah, the coach explained the reasons which I understand. So obviously not everyone will make the squad,'' Modiba told Sowetan yesterday.

"If I remember correctly the coach [Baxter] said instead of taking someone who's versatile, he would prefer someone that plays that particular position week in, week out. that is understandable. I took it like a man. I am okay about it.''

However, "Postman", as Modiba is known to his peers, still pledged his support to Afcon-bound Bafana squad.

The Matsatsantsa man vowed to continue working hard. He played 35 games across all competitions in the just ended season, scored five goals and had 11 assists.

"I'll support the boys and work extra hard in the meantime. I am optimistic that my hard work will see me return to the national team in the near future,'' Modiba said.

In trying to justify the omission, Baxter cited Modiba's versatility as the main reason and further implied he can't please everyone.

"Molefi Ntseki [his assistant] and I have been saying that his [Modiba's] versatility would be very nice to have. But who do you leave out?

"Do you leave out a normal left-back or one of the wide midfield players? . So his versatility may have counted against him in this case. I do not need to tell him but he is a very good player.''

Baxter also brought in Modiba's SuperSport teammate Bradley Grobler as an example of players who end up not being selected.

"Because he [Modiba] has been around all the time of course he's in the picture. Aubrey gives us three players in one, so he really is a player you would like to have in the squad,'' Baxter said.

"Bradley has been outstanding for me, both when I was at SuperSport and when I got to the national team, so that sort of player you need to make room for, but I just cannot accommodate everybody.''

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