World Cup hosts South Africa get another chance on Tuesday, against Jamaica in Bloemfontein, to cure the scoring sickness that has infected the team.
A goalless draw with Japan in Port Elizabeth on Saturday meant Bafana Bafana have scored just once in the last six internationals, and that came against African football flyweights Madagascar.
South African supporters had high hopes against Japan with 1994 Brazil World Cup-winning coach Carlos Alberto Parreira starting a second spell in charge of the first African country to host the tournament.
Controversial Blackburn striker Benni McCarthy was also back after an indiscipline-induced eight-month exile, but the ”rust” accumulated from sitting on the bench in the English Premiership was all too apparent.
”It is not really my place to give a quality player such as Benni advice, but if I had to it would be to move to another club during the January transfer window,” said Parreira.
”Benni is part of my World Cup plans but needs to sharpen up and he knows that as well as I do. Playing regularly at club level will see him back to his best.”
McCarthy, whose 31 international goals is a South African record, agrees and reports have linked the Cape Town-born striker with a switch to Premiership basement dwellers Portsmouth.
”Clubs in England and Europe have asked if I am available and I was flattered by the quality of them,” admitted McCarthy, without disclosing details of his suitors.
South Africa did not seriously trouble World Cup qualifiers Japan even once, with the best effort a long-range Siphiwe Tshabalala drive that was parried to safety.
Parreira started with McCarthy and Katlego Mphela from Mamelodi Sundowns against Japan.
Jamaica lie 16 places above South Africa on the Fifa rankings and coach Theodore Whitmore has opted to leave Premiership duo, captain Ricardo Gardner of Bolton and Ricardo Fuller of Stoke, in England.
The ”Reggae Boyz” have also been finding goals hard to come by, with seven in nine outings this year and three of those were in a win over Panama, the only game the Jamaicans played in Kingston.
Defender Claude Davis (65 caps) and midfielder Jermaine Johnson (61) from English second-tier clubs Crystal Palace and Sheffield Wednesday respectively are the most experienced squad members. — AFP