Monday Jul 06, 2020. 11:00
South Africa national team coach Molefi Ntseki has warned against using naturalised players for Bafana Bafana.
The likes of Samir Nurkovic (Serbia, Kaizer Chiefs striker) and Gaston Sirino (Uruguay, Mamelodi Sundowns forward) have declared their availability to play for South Africa as naturalised citizens.
However, Ntseki says it is his intention to give priority to local-born players first, before considering the foreign-born options.
“The attention that we are giving is to profile South African players,” Ntseki is quoted by IOL.
“We must be very careful. Let me make an example about Sirino and Nurkovic. Are we giving enough attention to what we have before we can move for a player that has to be naturalised?
“Are we comparing that player with what we have in the country and giving opportunities to what we have in the country?
“If you go to the junior teams, all the junior teams have given our players an opportunity to play for their country. That’s why most of them are playing overseas.
“I’m talking about the likes of Lyle Foster, Gift Links, Kabomelo Kodisang, Liam Jordan and Luther Singh. These players played for our junior teams and they are now in the overseas market.”
The Bafana coach continued, “If we don’t have anybody who can be of a level of the second player, it means we will always be looking into that player.
“Let’s say we approach a (naturalised) player and we say we are interested in him playing for our country but that has to be done in such a way that the player will be protected and the coach will also be protected.
“What will happen if that player doesn’t have a good first game or second game? People will start to say all the negative things about that player. We need to do it properly.”
Ntseki then gave an example to further clarify his stance: “Let us make an example of Rushine de Reuck. He was born (in South Africa) in 1996 and then there is someone like Ricardo Nascimento (who is Brazilian) from Sundowns.
“Nascimento is older than Rushine. If you were to overlook Rushine, who are you disadvantaging? People will say instead of helping in development of football and selecting Rushine, you’ve decided to convert a non-South African to be a South African. That is the reality of the situation and that’s why I say we should not be emotional about it.”