Door still open for Moeneeb – Pitso

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The door is still open for Moeneeb Josephs to return to the national fold.

The door is still open for Moeneeb Josephs to return to the national fold, even as early as this week, according to Bafana

Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane.

Josephs caused a stir last week, announcing his retirement from international football as he turned down a call-up for Bafana duty.

"Moeneeb is within his rights to pitch up today," Mosimane said at the team's training camp in Phokeng, outside Rustenburg, on Monday.

"It's the official first Fifa date and official camp started this morning.

"We need an official stand from Moeneeb, so we have not closed the door on him.

"If he wants to present himself, he's welcome."

The national side's second-choice keeper announced his retirement in a media statement last week after he failed to turn up for camp.

Mosimane opted to be cautious on Josephs' stance and not draw any conclusions until he got a chance to meet with the Orlando Pirates player.

"The issue of players retiring is nothing new to the national team," he said.

"You know we've had issues of players retiring, and then saying they had not retired.

"Moeneeb is a passionate player, and we know that footballers can be emotional. I know that."

The 32-year-old was reportedly frustrated after playing second fiddle to Itumeleng Khune, though he made no reference in the statement to the amount of time he had spent on the bench.

"We all know goalkeeping is a specialised position," Mosimane said.

"Look at how long it took Rowen Fernandez to replace Brian Baloyi, and Senzo Meyiwa is being kept out by Moeneeb.

"We'll take precaution and hear what he says because we don't know the situation apart from what he says in the media.

"I've never had problems in the team, and not with him.

"Even when Bafana were not winning games, there were no problems in the camp."

Apart from Josephs, Bafana reported a full contingent of 27 players ahead of their opening 2014 World Cup qualifier against Ethiopia at Royal Bafokeng Stadium on Sunday.

Chiefs forward Lehlohonolo Majoro has been included for the duration of the camp after initially being picked as cover for Santos' Eleazor Rodgers.

While Rodgers has been released from club duties, he may link up with his Cape-based team again in the relegation/promotion playoffs ahead of next week's World Cup qualifier against Botswana in Gaborone and a friendly fixture against Gabon in Johannesburg.

Thulani Serero, however, will be relieved from Bafana duties for personal reasons.

The Ajax Amsterdam midfielder is unlikely to feature this weekend while there is also doubt of his availability for the matches against Botswana and Gabon.

"Thulani's father passed away, and we agreed that he should take as much time as he needs," Mosimane said.

"Our condolences to his family. We've had a similar situation before when Eric Mathoho was relieved to go bury his sister.

"It will be up to the player and his family to decide (on his return)." – Sapa


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