With names like Ayanda Patosi, Kamohelo Mokotjo and Lebohang Phiri all called-up for national duty during the international break, football fans around South Africa were without a doubt looking forward to seeing our European-based players represent the country.
That was not the case though, as coach Shakes Mashaba opted to field many players who feature in the South African Premier Soccer League.
Can it be said that these players would be considered second options in the national team, despite having the status of being stars playing at a higher level in European leagues?
Apart from Andile Jali, Anele Ngcongca, Dean Furman and Tokelo Rantie, who have regular places in the national team, other South Africans who play abroad rarely get the chance to start all together.
One would automatically think that locally-based players would have to fight the European-based players for a place, but it seems to be the other way around as Mashaba probably has different thoughts on the matter. I feel that during the rebuilding phase, each and every player selected for national duty, deserves a shot in the team.
Successful African countries like Ghana, Ivory Coast and Cameroon make use of their talents abroad, due to the fact that their skill and ability is being tested at the highest level in some of the best leagues in Europe. I think Shakes can learn from the example of many African football federations and make use of our boys playing abroad, and actually throw them in the starting XI.
It can only do us good playing the best players… after all, everyone deserves a chance, especially if it’s in friendly games.
Do you agree?