Bafana on lookout for talent outside borders

Bafana Bafana head coach Shakes Mashaba is the only man to lead the South African men's national team in 50 international matches. Picture: Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images
Bafana Bafana head coach Shakes Mashaba is the only man to lead the South African men’s national team in 50 international matches.
Picture: Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images

The South African Football Association’s (Safa) desire to cast their net wider in the search for talent to refresh the Bafana Bafana squad has led to an approach to Swiss junior international Joel Untersee.

Safa president Danny Jordaan has asked the coaches of all national teams to consider players developed outside of South Africa to widen their pool of options.

The first of these during the reign of coach Shakes Mashaba has been the call-up for Dutch-born forward Lars Veldwijk‚ but it may well not be the last.

It is understood that an approach to fullback Untersee has been made as well‚ with the player‚ who features for Italian Serie B side Brescia‚ on loan from giants Juventus‚ potentially open to the idea.

The 22-year-old‚ who was born in Roodepor t‚ has represented Switzerland at every level of junior football from U15 to the U21s‚ but has not yet made a senior national team appearance.

He joined the Juventus youth academy in 2011 and has been part of the pre-season squads for the first teams on a number of occasions since‚ but has so far only been loaned out.

He spent almost three seasons with Lichtenstein club Vaduz‚ who actually play in the Swiss league‚ and is now at Brescia ‚ where he is a regular.

Bafana have no scheduledmatches between their friendly with Mozambique on Tuesday and their back-to-back World Cup qualifiers home and away against the Cape Verde Islands next August.

They are likely to play in the Cosafa Castle Cup next June in the North West province ‚ but given the long season for many of their players‚ it will be with an under-strength selection.

The break of some nine months between World Cup qualifiers gives Mashaba plenty of time to reflect on his squad and assess options.

It is a tactic used by many other African countries in recent years.

The rise of the Cape Verde has been due to their policy of looking to players in the diaspora of Europe and they were briefly ranked by Fifa as the number one country on the continent last year.

Minnows Guinea-Bissau have used the same tactic and have qualified for a firstever African Nations Cup finals in Gabon next year.

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