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07 Nov 2009 10:43
Forget Benni McCarthy, the real masterstroke in the return of Carlos Albertos Parreira as Bafana Bafana coach has been his decision to include Kermit Erasmus in the senior national squad.
While there is no doubting Benni is one of the most experienced and naturally gifted finishers produced in South Africa, he will be edging perilously close to 32-years-old by the time the World Cup swings around, that is, of course, if he bothers to honour his call-up.
Erasmus on the other hand, is blessed with the power, pace and intelligence that McCarthy embodied when he first broke on to the international scene in 1997.
The Port-Elizabeth youngster is destined for big things. The 19-year-old has a massive reputation to live up to, being named as one of the world’s top 50 most exciting teen footballers in 2007 and ranked among such impressive talents such as Pato of AC Milan, and Theo Walcott of England. This however does not seem to faze him.
After spending his formative years at SuperSport United’s youth academy he was snapped up by Dutch giants Feyenoord—who beat a number of top European clubs battling for his signature—and this was before he had even made a first team appearance for SuperSport.
While his critics might point to his poor start in Holland, mainly due to injury, it seems a loan move to second division side Excelsior Rotterdam is starting to pay off.
The diminutive striker, often compared to Brazilian legend Romario, has already scored four goals in six appearances for Rotterdam, and was impressive during the recent under-20 World Cup in Egypt, steering Amajita to the quarterfinals with three goals in four matches.
His inclusion in the Bafana squad could be just what South Africa is looking for as they face the tough task of avoiding embarrassment at the World Cup. Bafana are notoriously short of quality striking options, but the emergence of Erasmus to partner the ever improving Katlego Mphela could provide the desperately needed fireworks when the national side clashes with Japan in Port Elizabeth next weekend.
Read more from Ryan Hoffmann
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