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By ESPN Staff

Mokoena dismay as South Africa omit McCarthy

Midfielder Aaron Mokoena believes Blackburn team-mate Benni McCarthy should be helping South Africa rather than the club's push for a UEFA Cup place. Instead of preparing for the African Nations Cup, McCarthy is getting set to face Bolton at the Reebok Stadium on Sunday. His omission from the South African party - he scored 24 goals in all competitions for Rovers last season - has surprised many including national team captain Mokoena. The Blackburn midfielder said: 'Benni is one of the toughest strikers in the country.' That view is shared by Panathinaikos defender Nasief Morris, who added: 'We need players like Benni.' While McCarthy and co were on the end of a 4-1 defeat by Coca-Cola Championship side Coventry in the FA Cup last weekend, the former Porto striker ended a barren spell by getting the winner against Sunderland in their last league outing. He is set to team up in attack again with Roque Santa Cruz, who was rested last weekend with Blackburn chasing a third successive league victory. However, manager Mark Hughes could be down on numbers for the derby match, especially in midfield. Mokoena is on international duty, Robbie Savage has joined Derby while Tugay could be sidelined with a hamstring strain.