Orlando Pirates striker Benni McCarthy gave South Africa coach Pitso Mosimane food for thought this weekend with a title-clinching brace.
Ignored when the squad was named for 2014 World Cup qualifiers against Ethiopia and Botswana during June, the 34-year-old striker struck twice during the second half of a 4-2 Durban triumph over Golden Arrows.
Pirates finished two points ahead of fellow Sowetans Moroka Swallows after a thrilling run-in to the richest national football championship on the continent with the winners banking $1.3 million.
Alarm at the failure of South Africa to score — they hit only four goals in six games during an ill-fated 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign — has triggered calls for veterans McCarthy and Siyabonga Nomvethe to be recalled.
Under-pressure Mosimane took partial heed by bringing 20-goal leading Premiership scorer Nomvethe, another 34 year old who plays for Swallows, back after two years in the international wilderness.
But the failure of the coach to also include McCarthy brought a swift rebuke from Augusto Palacios, the 59-year-old caretaker coach who guided Pirates to a second consecutive title after taking over in mid-March.
“Benni might have had his differences with some national football association officials in the past, but he has been a reformed character playing at Pirates this season,” stressed the former Peru midfielder.
“I have found him to be a model footballer who is disciplined and trains hard. It is all very well saying South Africa must find players for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, but first you have to get there.”
Former South Africa coach Ted Dumitru sides with Palacios, telling the Mail and Guardian: “There is nobody (in South Africa) close to the playing intelligence of Benni and that counts even though he is 10 kilograms overweight.”
Cape Town-born McCarthy, whose
Category: Africa News