Nomvethe to solve South Africa long-running scoring problem, says coach

AFP, Thursday 17 May 2012

South Africa recalled 34-year-old striker Siyabonga Nomvethe Thursday for 2014 World Cup qualifiers against Ethiopia and Botswana during June

Nomvethe
Nomvethe

Under-fire coach Pitso Mosimane wants the leading South African Premiership scorer this season and a nominee for the Player of the Year award to solve a long-running scoring problem.

Bafana Bafana (The Boys) netted just four times in six 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Niger, Sierra Leone and Egypt, and failed to reach the finals for the second consecutive time.

Nomvethe, a modest native of Indian Ocean city Durban whose career included spells in Italy, Sweden and Denmark, last wore the national shirt at the 2010 World Cup against France.

He was among the players hastily discarded by former national team striker Mosimane when he succeeded Brazilian Carlos Alberto Parreira after South Africa became the first World Cup hosts to be eliminated after the first round.

But the coach could not ignore the 20 goals scored by Nomvethe in the Premiership, which has played a major role in transforming Soweto-based Moroka Swallows from relegation candidates last year to title contenders.

"Siyabonga fits our criteria and the way we play," Mosimane told a news conference in Soweto after naming a 26-strong squad for qualifiers against Ethiopia on June 3 in Rustenburg and Botswana on June 9 in Gaborone.

"He has discipline, respects the national shirt and is always willing to assist us," Mosimane said of a striker who has scored 16 goals in 79 Bafana Bafana appearances.

Nomvethe greeted his recall with customary humility: "The coach called me and I am happy to be back. I still have a desire to help the national team as they have not been winning."

Mosimane knows that any slip-ups against minnows Ethiopia, shock 2012 Cup of Nations qualifiers Botswana or Central African Republic will intensify media demands for his axing from a post reportedly worth 100,000 dollars a month.

Bafana Bafana supporters have found it hard to forgive the coach for his ignorance of the Cup of Nations rules which led him to believe a home draw against Sierra Leone last October would suffice when they needed to win.

Steven Pienaar, on loan to former team Everton from Tottenham, skippers the squad, half of whose players come from local glamour clubs Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns.

South Africa squad

Goalkeepers: Darren Keet (Kortrijk/BEL), Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs), Moeneeb Josephs (Orlando Pirates), Wayne Sandilands (Mamelodi Sundowns)

Defenders: Siboniso Gaxa (Lierse/BEL), Morgan Gould (SuperSport Utd), Bongani Khumalo (Tottenham/ENG), Punch Masenamela (Sundowns), Tsepo Masilela (Maccabi Haifa/ISR), Anele Ngcongca (Genk/BEL), Siyabonga Sangweni (Pirates)

Midfielders: Andile Jali and Oupa Manyisa (Pirates), Reneilwe Letsholonyane and Siphiwe Tshabalala (Chiefs), Teko Modise and Lebohang Mokoena (Sundowns), May Mahlangu (Helsingborgs/SWE), Thulani Serero (Ajax Amsterdam/NED), Steven Pienaar (Tottenham/ENG, capt), Mzikayise Mashaba (Free State Stars), Thanduyise Khuboni (Golden Arrows)

Strikers: Katlego Mphela (Sundowns), Siyabonga Nomvethe (Moroka Swallows), Tokelo Rantie (Pirates), Eleazar Rodgers (Santos)

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter: @AO Sports)

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