'Old' Nomvethe returns to Bafana, Benni loses out
SIYABONGA Nomvethe (34) has befuddled critics of "has-been stars" with scintillating goal-scoring prowess that has won him back his spot in the Bafana Bafana squad.
Nomvethe's irrepressible form, which catapulted the Moroka Swallows' frontman to the summit of the PSL top goal-scorers' chart, has forced coach Pitso Mosimane to live up to his promise to look at in-form players regardless of age.
The Bafana coach will on May 17 name Nomvethe for the opening 2014 Brazil World Cup qualifiers against Ethiopia and Botswana next month, but is unlikely to include McCarthy in his 26-member squad.
South Africa host The Black Lions at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg on June 3 and engage The Zebras in Gaborone on June 9.
Nomvethe led a remarkable resurgence of the Beautiful Birds from the depths of relegation zone last season to a tantalising second spot this term, just two points shy of log leaders and Soweto foes Orlando Pirates, with two games to play for both sides.
His brace against Black Leopards in Giyani on Friday night, coming straight after a hat-trick in the Lamontville Golden Arrows game, brings his league goals tally to 18.
Mosimane spoke highly of Nomvethe yesterday.
"He's a dedicated and disciplined player and I have no doubt he will make a difference against Ethiopia and Botswana," he said yesterday.
"His physique is very good, so is his speed. He can cope with the way we play at Bafana Bafana. He got the transaction of defending moving forward. He's got the game demand of international standards."
He said Nomvethe's inclusion wasn't because of public pressure.
"I have never bowed to public pressure as a coach," he said - and denied ever saying he'd never consider Nomvethe for Bafana. What I will not do, though, is to consider Nomvethe in friendly matches."
Nomvethe last played for Bafana at the 2010 World Cup when he came off the bench against France in Bafana's third and final group stage fixture of the spectacle.
Mosimane yesterday refused to comment about the possibility of bringing Benni McCarthy into the Bafana fold.