Mphela to take South Africa’s goalscoring mantle from McCarthy
Carlos Alberto Parreira has made his boldest decision yet as South Africa coach by dropping Benni McCarthy from the hosts’ final World Cup squad.
McCarthy, who is South Africa’s all-time leading scorer with 35 international goals to his name, has been struggling with his fitness of late, though his omission is still a shock.
The West Ham striker has faced accusations of being overweight, and during South Africa’s friendly win over Colombia, a fan was seen waving a banner which read ‘Benni Ate My Lunch’.
Fortunately for South Africa, however, they have a ready-made replacement in the form of Katlego Mphela, who has been in lethal form recently.
Mphela has scored five goals in his last five internationals, and the forward is convincingly priced at 5/2 to finish the tournament as South Africa’s top scorer.
Surprisingly, Parreira has only chosen three strikers in his party of 23, with Mphela, Bernard Parker or Siyabonga Nomvete expected to start as a lone forward in a 4-5-1 formation.
Other notable inclusions in the squad are the wonderfully-named midfielders Surprise Moriri and MacBeth Sibaya, while Everton’s Steven Pienaar and Fulham’s Kagisho Dikgacoi have also been included.
Aaron Mokoena will captain the side, and the Portsmouth defender became the first South African to win 100 caps when he led Bafana Bafana to their 5-0 thumping of Guatemala on Monday.
The win extends South Africa’s unbeaten run to 11 games, and the hosts’ fine form should see them beat Mexico – which is good value at 7/4 – in the tournament’s opening match.