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Benni wants Bafana return


JOHANNESBURG — Orlando Pirates hitman Benni McCarthy is keen to play for Bafana Bafana again after chatting with new national team coach Gordon Igesund.

The 34-year-old, South Africa’s record scorer with 31 strikes, contributed 13 goals to Bucs’ treble success last term, winning the Telkom Knockout Player of the Tournament award in the process.

And he hopes to add to his 79 caps under Igesund, who replaced Pitso Mosimane in June. “I had a chat with the coach two weeks ago and he was happy that my form is still intact,” said McCarthy.

“If the coach feels that I still have what it takes to play for Bafana once again, then I am ready. At the moment, my focus is on doing well at Pirates and so far so good.” McCarthy, who is preparing for tomorrow’s Carling Cup duel with Kaizer Chiefs, insists he’s in shape after courting much criticism for his rotund figure in recent years.

“I feel like a 25-year-old unlike my age of 34,” said the former Blackburn Rovers and Celta Vigo man. This is all thanks to my coach Augusto Palacios, who ensured that I started the season as fit as a fiddle.

“Last season, I felt heavy and it took me a while to settle in, but this time around, I am feeling good and confident ahead of the season.” McCarthy added that he hoped to emulate fellow veteran Siyabonga Nomvethe in the coming campaign.

The Premiership Player of the Season netted 20 goals for Moroka Swallows.

“I intend to follow in Nomvethe’s footsteps as he showed consistency last season,” said McCarthy. “I have belief that my dream can be realised as we have strengthened the team with good, quality players.”

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