One of the first names newly re-appointed Bafana Bafana head coach Carlos Alberto Parreira must have in his squad to face Japan and Jamaica, is that of Spanish-based defender Nasief Morris.
That is the view of former Bafana captain and now coach of AmaZulu, Neil Tovey.
”We need our best players and Morris is top class and we need him,” said Tovey.
”The criteria for selection should be merit, ability and form and Morris has all of that.”
Tovey also said he had no problems should Parreira, who was brought back to take charge of Bafana last month to replace his Brazilian countryman Joel Santana, select Blackburn Rovers striker Benni McCarthy.
”If Benni is committed to the cause, then there is no reason not to bring him back into the Bafana set up. We are going to need all the experience we can get as we build up to the 2010 World Cup finals next June.”
Both ”bad boys”, McCarthy and Morris, were dropped by Santana for disciplinary reasons before the start of the Confederations Cup in June.
Bafana managed to reach the semifinals of that tournament without Morris and McCarthy but there have been calls for Parreira to wipe the slate clean.
It was Parreira who persuaded Blackburn Rovers striker McCarthy to end his self-imposed international isolation when he took charge of Bafana for the first time in 2007.
McCarthy (31) has 76 caps and is still Bafana’s leading goal scorer with 31 goals, while Morris (28), who plays for Racing Santander and came through the international youth ranks from SA under-17 to Bafana, has played 37 times for his country.
But now that Santana’s shackles are off, there is nothing to stop Parreira pardoning both players and returning them to the national team.
Both players, but especially McCarthy, are being tipped to be in Parreira’s first squad which he will announce on Thursday.
The former World Cup winner with Brazil in 1994 is expected in the country to name his squad in person. But having been away from South African soccer for more than 18 months, he will have to rely on assistant coaches Pitso Mosimane and Jairo Leal for advice.
Tovey said he would have preferred a South African born coach to have replaced Santana who quit last month after losing eight of his last nine matches in charge of Bafana.
Said Tovey: ”I still believe a local coach should have been appointed, but having said that, if Safa [the South African Football Association] decided on a foreign coach, then I reckon Parreira is the best bet as he has coached Bafana before and knows the players and what to expect.
”The best thing we can do as a nation is support him as he has eight months to prepare the squad, and hopefully he will consult the PSL coaches and get some information and involve us, unlike Santana.
”He needs to get the right blend, but he has time to do that.”
Bafana host Japan at the Rand Stadium on November 14 and Jamaica at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein on November 17. — Sapa