Vet­er­ans play in other na­tional teams, so why not for Bafana, asks

Ti­mothy Molobi

CityPress - - Sport -

Aquick look at the on­go­ing Copa Amer­ica tour­na­ment in Chile proves that most of the com­pet­ing na­tions have turned to their vet­eran play­ers.

This is in stark con­trast to how Bafana Bafana team se­lec­tors op­er­ate. They keep clos­ing the door on more se­nior play­ers.

Bafana’s mis­fir­ing in three of­fi­cial games – two Coun­cil of South­ern Africa Football As­so­ci­a­tions (Cosafa) fix­tures and the Africa Cup of Na­tions (Af­con) qual­i­fier against Gam­bia – is proof that coach Shakes Mashaba should blend his young play­ers with ex­pe­ri­enced cam­paign­ers.

Vi­sion 2022 seems to be the cause of all the trou­bles, as it means play­ers who fall in a cer­tain age group, ir­re­spec­tive of how good they are, will not be con­sid­ered for the se­nior na­tional team.

In­stead of mix­ing youth with ex­pe­ri­ence, Mashaba has dropped the old guard, although the young­sters have some­times found the go­ing tough. Bafana failed to score in three games against Botswana and Malawi in the Cosafa Cup and against Gam­bia.

Although the signs have been there for a while, Mashaba and his tech­ni­cal team have ig­nored them, as he has per­sisted with his young team.

Teko Modise, who won the Absa Premier­ship midfielder of the year award, has been on top of his game in the past two sea­sons, but has been over­looked by na­tional team se­lec­tors be­cause the Mamelodi Sun­downs midfielder is on the wrong side of 30.

Bernard Parker might have been part of the Af­con team, but the Kaizer Chiefs striker’s role in Equa­to­rial Guinea was lim­ited to the bench and he only played a cameo role.

It is a dif­fer­ent story else­where in the world.

Rafael Márquez cap­tained Mexico at 36 and Wal­ter Ay­oví (36) also led Ecuador at the Copa Amer­ica. Bo­livia had Pablo Es­co­bar (36) while the host coun­try had David Pizarro (35) and Ar­gentina had Manch­ester City de­fender Martín Demiche­lis (34).

Italy’s coach, An­to­nio Conte, per­suaded Ju­ven­tus midfielder An­drea Pirlo (37) to come out of re­tire­ment. Last week, Pirlo cap­tained the Az­zurri when they lost 1-0 to Por­tu­gal in an in­ter­na­tional friendly. He has vowed to rep­re­sent his coun­try at Euro 2016 in France.

Bafana’s fail­ure to win a game at Af­con ear­lier this year in Equa­to­rial Guinea – where they came back with­out a point – should have caused a change to the se­lec­tion pol­icy.

But Mashaba and his tech­ni­cal team did not see the warn­ing signs. It is not too late to change the sta­tus quo.

PHOTO: MUZI NTOMBELA / BACKPAGEPIX PHOTO: SYD­NEY MAHLANGU / BACKPAGEPIX

ROCK SOLID Wil­lard Kat­sande of

Kaizer Chiefs is ex­pected to con­tinue his strong play in mid­field, although new coach Steve Kom­phela might be look­ing for a few fresh faces in that

depart­ment

NEW CHIEF Siyanda Xulu is likely to re­place Tefu Mashamaite in

Chiefs’ de­fence

PHOTO: CHRIS RICCO / BACKPAGEPIX

Shakes Mashaba seems to be fo­cus­ing on the fu­ture

PHOTO: MUZI NTOMBELA / BACKPAGEPIX

OVER­LOOKED Teko Modise has been su­perb for Mamelodi Sun­downs, but

is no longer con­sid­ered for

Bafana LOOK­ING AHEAD

PHOTO: CLAU­DIO VILLA / GETTY IM­AGES

GRIZZLED WAR­RIOR An­drea Pirlo is still part of

Italy’s na­tional team de­spite his

age

PHOTO: CHRIS RICCO / BACKPAGEPIX

IN­SPI­RA­TIONAL Rafael Márquez is still go­ing strong for

Mexico

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