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Parker closing in on Benni’s record

Bafana

Goals have placed two Bafana Bafana footballers in the spotlight, albeit for different reasons.

Central midfielder Hlompho Kekana netted a stunning long-range goal when the SA national football team opened the African Nations Championship (Chan) tournament with a 3-1 victory over Mozambique at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday.

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CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - JANUARY 11: Goalkeeper Soares Soares of Mozambique dives the wrong way as Bernard Parker of South Africa takes the penalty during the 2014 African Nations Championship match between South Africa and Mozambique at Cape Town Stadium on January 11, 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Shaun Roy/Gallo Images)

The other two strikes were delivered by goal ace Bernard Parker, who is gradually closing in on the all-time scoring record of Benni McCarthy.

Mamelodi Sundowns’ Kekana doesn’t net too many, but his Chan scorcher will live with him for a long, long time.

For Kaizer Chiefs’ Parker, scoring is akin to breathing – and he has hinted that McCarthy’s Bafana mark is always at the back of his mind whenever he pulls on the national jersey.

“I will continue to work hard and hope to score more goals in the coming games,” Parker told the Chiefs website.

“I look at the record books and see the possibility of adding my name in the records. I hope to stay injury-free to enable me to score more goals.”

His current form certainly suggests he is capable of reeling in McCarthy.

Parker has been one of the mainstays of recent Bafana squads and he is definitely highly rated by coach Gordon Igesund.

The 27-year-old’s strength is his persistence and desire to give his all. He never seems to tire and he has a keen eye for a scoring opportunity.

His two goals against Mozambique took his tally to 21 in 65 appearances for Bafana – just 11 behind McCarthy’s national record.

Kekana’s rocket, meanwhile, still has Cape Town abuzz. The 28-year-old’s special moment inspired the Bafana win, especially as the score at that stage was 1-1. From there, Igesund’s team was able to go on and easily take the three points on offer.

The combative, hard-tackling midfielder, though, is the polar opposite of his humble, soft-spoken personality. He shook off any personal praise in the wake of his great goal, preferring to laud his teammates for the win.

“The whole team deserves credit for the performance and the points,” said Kekana. “I’ve always tried shots like those at training and, on Saturday, it came off. But sometimes it doesn’t... that’s football.” - Cape Argus

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