Mokoena: PSL needs in­ter­na­tional ex­po­sure

CityPress - - Sport - SIL­VER SIBIYA sil­ver.sibiya@city­press.co.za

For­mer Bafana Bafana captain Aaron Mokoena be­lieves play­ers who come back to the PSL af­ter spend­ing time in top Euro­pean leagues have a huge role to play in lo­cal foot­ball.

Speak­ing at the launch of the Bokone Bophir­ima Maize Cup in Klerks­dorp, North West, this week, Mokoena said PSL clubs should wel­come those play­ers who want to fin­ish their ca­reers in the do­mes­tic league as their ex­pe­ri­ence would come in handy.

“We have been blessed by gain­ing do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ence. We need to be given that op­por­tu­nity when we come back home,” said the for­mer Black­burn Rovers player.

Mbazo was re­fer­ring mainly to fel­low for­mer Bafana skip­per Steven Pien­aar, who wants to end his ca­reer in the PSL.

“If you look at what Benni [McCarthy] did when he came back from Europe and played for Or­lando Pi­rates, you will un­der­stand why Steven has a lot to of­fer.

“The re­turn of Steven will help in terms of plough­ing back and help­ing in­ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers.”

Mokoena played as a teenager at Jomo Cos­mos be­fore em­bark­ing on a decade-long ca­reer in Europe with stints in the Nether­lands, Bel­gium and Eng­land.

On the na­tional team’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Coun­cil of South­ern Africa Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tions (Cosafa) Cup to­day, he said play­ers rep­re­sent­ing the na­tional team were not young­sters, but just in­ex­pe­ri­enced.

“In this coun­try, we have a prob­lem of not un­der­stand­ing what a young­ster is. If you are over 18, you are no longer a young­ster.

“[How­ever], these boys will gain valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence. The tour­na­ment will give Stu­art Baxter a chance to iden­tify play­ers who will help the [se­nior] na­tional team in fu­ture.”

The third in­stal­ment of the Maize Cup will take place on July 15 at James Mot­latsi Sta­dium in Orkney. Hosts Plat­inum Stars will take on Free State Stars in the first semi­fi­nal. Kaizer Chiefs face Botswana’s league cham­pi­ons Town­ship Rollers in the se­cond semi­fi­nal.

North West Sport and Recre­ation MEC Sello Le­hari said last year’s win­ners – Pi­rates – would not have de­clined the in­vi­ta­tion to par­tic­i­pate. How­ever, the Soweto giants’ ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cer, Floyd Mbele, told City Press that Pi­rates did not re­ceive an in­vi­ta­tion.

PHOTO: SYDNEY MAHLANGU / BACKPAGEPIX

WALK­ING THE PLANK Thabo Rakhale of Or­lando Pi­rates with Siphiwe Mn­guni of Plat­inum Stars on his heels in last year’s Maize Cup. Pi­rates, who are the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons, will not par­tic­i­pate in this year’s event

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