DURBAN - Bafana Bafana great Benni McCarthy is banking on the current crop of young players to end the 20 year hoodoo of missing out qualifying for the Fifa World Cup.
McCarthy, who is now coaching Absa Premiership outfit Cape Town City, is optimistic that Bafana will be one of the nations representing Africa in 2022 in Qatar.
Bafana haven’t qualified for the World Cup since 2002. They participated in 2010 in South Africa as the host nation.
They missed out in 2006 in Germany, 2014 in Brazil and they will watch it on their screens in Russia in two months time.
McCarthy knows what it is like to play at the World Cup having represented South Africa twice in the biggest international competition.
He was in the squad in 1998 when Bafana played at their maiden World Cup in France and took part in 2002 in Japan/Korea.
McCarthy told the media after his side played out to 1-1 stalemate against Maritzburg United at Harry Gwala Stadium this past weekend in a PSL encounter that the future looks bright for Bafana.
“I’m very happy with the young boys like Craig Martin and Thabo Nodada. They are able to make the step up in their game. I hope they continue and push. Like Ndlovu (Siphesihle of Maritzburg United) they can find themselves fighting for the place at Bafana," McCarthy said.
"They are young and they’ve got age on their side. I think it is good that these young players are coming up and playing like the way they are playing.
"The future is starting to look bright for Bafana because having all these players improving and getting better and better it is good for the country. Hopefully come 2022 in Qatar we are there. We have to be there and I believe they can do it."
#MondayMotivation goes to #30 Craig Martin for his Man of the Match display in our 1-1 draw with Maritzburg!
Martin’s workrate and resilience was evident once again.tormenting the Maritzburg defence for 90 minutes! #iamCityFC #Martin30 pic.twitter.com/98wnByGcsG
Maritzburg United midfield kingpin Ndlovu has been flawless this season and so has Martin at Cape Town City. Bafana coach Stuart Baxter called up Ndlovu for the Four Nations tournament his side won in Zambia.
Bafana will now set their sights on booking a place in next year’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Cameroon. They commenced very well, thumping Nigeria 2-0 on their backyard.
Bafana haven’t qualified for the major tournament since 2015, when they were knocked out at the group stages of the Afcon.
Other young players who have shown potential this season are Wiseman Meyiwa from Kaizer Chiefs, Ajax Cape Town Grant Magerman, Motjeka Madisha from Mamelodi Sundowns and Siphelele Magubane from Lamontville Golden Arrows.