Bafana Stars Whose World Cup Dreams Are Likely Over
Bafana Bafana's failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup was a bitter pill for the nation to swallow, but for the some of the current squad members, it meant the end of the dream altogether.
Tired of reading? Click through the gallery above to see the Bafana stars who may never grace another World Cup.
Football frenzy has already started gripping the globe as this year's Russia finals are just three days away, leaving fans on the edge of their seats in anticipation.
However, for some of the current Bafana players, the couch will be as close as they come to the action, with an appearance at another World Cup tournament seemingly out of the question.
'Shabba' managed to write his name in the history books after scoring the opening goal at the 2010 showpiece on home soil with a scorching effort against Mexico, but at 33 years of age, the Amakhosi veteran's chances of again gracing the finals seems slim at best. The memory of his hammer drive in 2010 will have to suffice for the midfield maestro.
Like his Kaizer Chiefs teammate Tshabalala, Parker was also part of the 2010 squad but managed only a combined 75 minutes of game-time in Bafana's failed group campaign. The Amakhosi hitman was 24 years old when he walked out into his first World Cup, but will already be 36 by the time the 2022 finals roll around, and it would take something special for him to replicate the feat of Miroslav Klose, who represented Germany at the 2014 showpiece at the age of 36.
For Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder, Kekana, the chance of representing his country at a World Cup seems well and truly over, with the playmaker having last month celebrated his 33rd birthday. Having enjoyed a glittering club career which includes three Absa Premiership titles and a CAF Champions League winners' medal, it seems almost tragic that the midfield maestro will never get the chance to showcase his immense talents on football's biggest stage.
Another Sundowns man who celebrated his birthday last month, Langerman's fate is not as cut and dry as Kekana's, with the former now 32 years old and arguably still capable of plying his trade for the next four years. However, the question remains whether that contribution will be at the highest level. Only time will tell, but the clock is definitely ticking down for the full-back.
One Last Shot:
Meanwhile, there are those who will now look ahead to the 2022 finals as Last Chance Saloon, including Kaizer Chiefs captain and Bafana goalkeeper extraordinaire Itumeleng Khune (30 years old), Mamelodi Sundowns pair Oupa Manyisa (29) and George Lebese (29), SuperSport United hard-tackler Dean Furman (29), Chiefs defender Erick Mathoho (28), as well as Bidvest Wits soldier and current Bafana captain Thulani Hlatshwayo (28).
Do you think any of the above-mentioned players will be at another World Cup finals?