Bafana may shock Brazil, says Benni
BENNI McCarthy is impressed with the new, unknown faces in the Bafana Bafana squad, at least two of whom appear set for a start in the friendly international against Brazil here tomorrow.
McCarthy, in the squad thanks to injuries to Moroka Swallows striker Siyabonga Nomvethe and his replacement Edward Manqele, believes the new-look Bafana might surprise Brazil with a competitive display.
Gordon Igesund has cast his net wide as he has a look at players who might add value to Bafana ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations on home soil in January.
Two - Oldham Athletic midfielder Dean Furman and Maccabi Haifa striker Dino Ndlovu - look set for a start against the Selecao.
"They're some fantastic players and I'm surprised that I didn't even know a couple of them," McCarthy says of the new faces, who also include Peterborough left back Kgosi Ntlhe. "But they've come here, they've not been scared, they've played their own football and they look really exciting players."
According to Igesund's format in training yesterday, powerfully built Furman appears to have done enough to gain a starting place.
Furman could be fielded alongside Kagisho Dikgacoi and Thulani Serero in a three-man midfield. Orlando Pirates right-back Thabo Matlaba appears earmarked for right wing, with Ndlovu at striker and Siphiwe Tshabalala on the left.
The defence should be Siboniso Gaxa on the right, Punch Masanamela on the left and Bongani Khumalo and Siyabonga Sangweni in the middle.
McCarthy said the more direct style ex-Moroka Swallows coach Igesund wants to implement could be effective for the national team.
"Swallows have been playing it and it's been very effective for them. For Bafana Gordon's using a bigger striker [Ndlovu] to hold up the ball and have quicker players supporting."
The veteran striker, expected to come off the bench tomorrow, has not played against Brazil at senior level. However he was part of, and scored for, the under-23 side that beat Brazil 3-1 at the Sydney Olympics.
"Ronaldinho was part of that team - they were at full strength. We just played to our strength and we matched them with skill and individualism. And I think we were just very committed and that's why we managed to beat them.
"I think individually we're on a par with Brazil. They've got Neymar, we've got Shabba [Siphiwe Tshabalala], who is equally as good."