at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
His threat might not have been as intimidating as George Bush’s speech before the American troops stormed Iraq, but new Bafana Bafana striker Davide Somma vowed to “destroy” the United States when the two teams meet in the Nelson Mandela Challenge at the Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday night.
Somma, who is of Italian descent and was born in Johannesburg, emigrated to the US during his childhood and played soccer in the US and Spain. Later, he played for several clubs in Italy before returning to the US for a stint in the Major Soccer League, with the San Jose Earthquakes.
The 25-year-old then moved to Leeds United in 2009 on a one-year deal, but his contract was extended after scoring seven goals in 14 games for the English Championship club.
Somma admitted yesterday that he wanted to play for the US, but after ignoring him, the striker wants to prove a point against the Americans. “I’m pumped up,” said Somma with a fairly heavy American accent. “The match is something I’ve been looking forward to for a while now.
“I just want to destroy them. They were buggering me around so much. I wanted to play for them, now I’m in South Africa and I want to destroy them. That’s all I want to do. I want to score. America didn’t show a lot of interest in me as much as South Africa. I was born here and I’m just happy to be called up to the squad,” Somma added.
But while the Leeds striker despises the Yanks, he admitted that he doesn’t know a lot about them. Still, he feels Bafana should beat the Americans after they picked a young and inexperienced team for the match.
But history is certainly against Bafana, who have lost both their previous encounters against the Americans. Bafana lost 1-0 against the US in this fixture three years ago at Ellis Park and got hammered 4-0 in 2000 in the States.
“I don’t know much about the American team. I only played for the San Jose Earthquakes for about six months. All I know is that they are very fit, but we should beat them because we have a lot of skilful players,” he said.
Somma had only two practice sessions before he can complete his personal vendetta tonight. And he has yet to receive “the video” of Bafana’s last couple of matches coach Pitso Mosimane promised to give him.
But the big striker “with the good body” says he is fitting in well in the team, although Bafana’s style of play is totally different to what he’s been experiencing in England.
“I don’t know about this video,” Somma joked, looking a bit perplexed. “I’m just trying to get used to how the South African team play.
“It’s a change from English football, where the ball is mostly up in the air and down the channels. It’s certainly going to be different, because Bafana like to play more of a passing game.
“But I will adapt. I can hold the ball up, but I also like to get in behind defenders. I have got a little bit of pace, but I also like to be in the six-yard area. So, I can do a little bit of everything,” Somma added.
A lot will be expected from the much-travelled Somma and he will be under pressure to perform and lead the line in the absence of Katlego Mphela at what is going to be a packed Cape Town Stadium.
Mosimane this week said not to judge the Leeds man on his first outing for the national team. But with all the hype around him, following his exploits in the English Championship, he will definitely be the man South African fans will watch to see what the fuss is all about.
“Obviously you want to do well. That is the only pressure you have. But the coach said to me ‘Do what you have been doing’ and that’s why he picked me and included me in the national team,” Somma said.
*The South African Under-23 team will take on their Botswana counterparts as a curtain-raiser for the match between Bafana and the US. The match kicks off at 6pm.
Bafana Bafana; Goalkeepers: Itumeleng Khune, Moeneeb Josephs; Defenders: Morgan Gould, Siboniso Gaxa, Tsepo Masilela, Siyabonga Sangweni, Anele Ngconca, Bevan Fransman, Siyanda Xulu, Keegan Ritchie; Midfielders: Teko Modise, Andile Jali, Siphiwe Tshabalala, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Steven Pienaar, Thanduyise Khuboni, Daylon Claasen, Matthew Pattison, Kagisho Dikgacoi; Strikers: Sthembiso Ngcobo, Kermit Erasmus, Davide Somma, Bernard Parker
US; Goalkeepers: Dominic Cervi, Brad Guzan; Defenders: Gale Agbossoumonde, Nat Borchers, Jonathan Bornstein, Clarence Goodson, Eric Lichaj, Tim Ream, Jonathan Spector; Midfielders: Alejandro Bedoya, Brian Carroll, Mikkel Diskerud, Eddie Gaven, Logan Pause, Robbie Rogers; Forwards: Juan Agudelo, Teal Bunbury, Robbie Findley - Cape Times
markp was on point until he wrote of Somma playing in "in one of the uncompetitive leagues" referring to the English Premier! It is VERY competitive and the most watched globally. Word-up: there is no such word as "uncompetitive" right one is "noncompetitive". Enough with the grammar lesson. Somma cannot play for the USA due to non-citizenship. But why wasn't he on on the radar for Bafana's WC team ??? SA plays a fancy dancey passing game that deteriorates into dithering and no shooting (apart from Shabba's WC goal). Maybe The Boys should attend The Les Salton School For Strikers. Tonight's Forecast: Breezy, 18.31C, USA 1 - SA 1.
ooh lalala saxy
yes its a friendly we must also take it as a friendly and not act like we have find the best striker in the world and make comments such as if our srikes did their job as if this boy is wld class!!! yes he scores magnificent goals in one of the uncompetative lgues in the world let not act like the boy is world class, because if he was he would be playing 4USA coz thats what he wanted initially....
Response to @markp, wrote
We as South Africans need to stop celebrating mediocrity, I am not saying we do not have players with great potential, we do, but does that mean we should discount or diregard all other players availablity. Lets look at the facts Mr @, if our strikers did their job in the World Cup, we would have progressed much further in the World Cup, we created many chances but lack of finishing cost us. When Mphela comes back, this doesnt mean our saviour is here, be realistic and lets give this boytjie a chance,if you had watched the goals he has scored for Leeds, like I have you will feel differently, it is a friendly match to unearth potential players for the national squad. Thats what friendlys are for!!!!
sanele k, wrote
i wish somma cud prove me wrong coz i really do not trust his loyalty to da nation! maybe im being too harsh i dont know
Let him play football and do well.
how can you say we dont have out & out striker and expect a guy from leeds united to lead the front line this boy will fade and he failed in US and now you want to rely on him 4gols? hhayi mani once mpela comes back this man is history. somma is a groun man at his age he should be playing in the top flight legues football not for leeds and come to represent the country.
Why wasn't Pienaar made captain, at least he's good enough to play for a Premier League side?
Considering USA is fielding a hugely under-strength team, it will be disappointing if SA does not win by a margin of at least 3.
good luck boys, do us proud. P.S
Yes ok he couldnt play for the US, but we picked him for our national squad, we represented by Pitso. Please stop player bashing, we dont have an out and out striker for the past couple of years barring a few courageous attempts by our local stars, unfortunately their attempts was not sustainable on the global stage , maybe this player will somma change our fortunes in front of goal. Somma get two or three goals tonite bru. Good luck and lets send the yanks back licking their wounds.
There are thousands of capetonians unable to get into the stadium because of SAFA's lack of foresight, what to do. I thought we wanted to make this stadium work. We have our 1st chance to see Bafana in the new stadium and only 20 000 get to go. very upset
FINALLY! A hottie in the Bafana Bafana team! Good luck tonight guys!
soma this is SA don't put yourself under unnecessary presure just do what you've been doing and that is what we want to see. good luck dont come here to act as a killer striker ''ill kill them ive been waiting 4dis'' boy that crap you must just be happy pitso called you from leeds united insted of calling domenic issac from santos.
Graham F, wrote
According to Coach Bradley Somma does not have and is having difficulty in gettin US citizenship. Thats why he cannot be selected to play. Bafana is a last resort.
Ant K, wrote
It would have been good for the journo to have given the day on which the match is to be played instead of just the time. Those Bafana supporters not in ZA have to reply on internet streaming of the game
So this chap is playing for SA only because USA did not want him. What choice does he have but to appear happy about playing for SA? Why doesn't he relocate back to SA to show he is serious?
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