‘Younger play­ers need to be trusted’

Sun­downs’ Sekot­long says Bafana should de­velop next gen­er­a­tion

The New Age (KwaZulu-Natal) - - Sport - Mmasekepem@the­newage.co.za

MMASEKEPE MATSEBANE

AS NA­TIONAL teams like Eng­land, Brazil, Spain and France con­tinue to be­lieve in young play­ers, South Africa in­sists on liv­ing in its own world, valu­ing “ex­pe­ri­ence” more than fresh tal­ent.

The re­sult is that Bafana Bafana will miss yet an­other World Cup with their stal­warts, while na­tional teams with young play­ers surge on to com­pete for foot­ball’s high­est hon­our.

Even lo­cal play­ers like Mamelodi Sun­downs striker Thokozani Sekot­long watch with envy as other na­tional teams do what lo­cal play­ers wish Bafana could do.

“It is some­thing one never re­ally gets to un­der­stand. Look at my team­mates Mot­jeka Madisha and Percy Tau. They are young but they have won the CAF Cham­pi­ons League and they are play­ing,” Sekot­long said.

“Why are they considered too young for Bafana Bafana? Marco Asen­sio is young but he is there in Spain. Mar­cus Rash­ford is play­ing in Eng­land and Gabriel Je­sus is there in Brazil.

“Their tal­ent alone has them play­ing for the top teams in Europe and for their na­tional teams. It is sur­pris­ing that we do things dif­fer­ently here.

“How will our play­ers get ex­pe­ri­ence at in­ter­na­tional level if you do not pick them and play them? There is Phaka­mani Mahlambi as well in Egypt.”

Dur­ing the World Cup qual­i­fy­ing cam­paign, South Africa has re­li­giously over­looked play­ers like Mahlambi, Tau, Madisha, Luther Singh, Kea­gan Dolly, Le­bo­gang Moth­iba, Le­bo­gang Phiri, Te­boho Mokoena and Kobamelo Kodisang, while older play­ers like Siphiwe Tsha­bal­ala, Mor­gan Gould, Clay­ton Daniels and, in some in­stances, Tham­sanqa Gabuza, made the na­tional team.

Mean­while, Sun­downs striker Sekot­long said he is ready to de­liver when Sun­downs face PSL cham­pi­ons Bid­vest Wits in a league match next Tues­day.

Both teams have been strug­gling since the start of the sea­son and Sekot­long is con­fi­dent that his team will do well.

“We are more or less go­ing through the same thing as Wits, but this break has helped us fix the things we were not do­ing right. I am ready when­ever the coach calls me and I know that my team­mates too want to change the team’s for­tunes be­cause we are a win­ning team and we want to keep it that way.”

Sekot­long joined Sun­downs from Free State Stars at the be­gin­ning of the sea­son and has so far scored one goal for the for­mer African cham­pi­ons.

PIC­TURE: GALLO IMAGES

ON THE SIDE­LINE: Thokozani Sekot­long of Mamelodi Sun­downs.

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