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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 1, 2008

McCarthy hits out at South Africa soccer chiefs

South Africa striker Benni McCarthy has lambasted his country's football administrators, blaming them for the national team's demise on the world stage.

The 30-year-old Blackburn forward, who has had a tempestuous relationship with the South African Football Association (SAFA) in recent years, believes the current state of Bafana Bafana is a 'massive shame', claiming that players are selected depending on the status of their club rather than on merit.

'The past few years now we haven't been getting the results that we wanted,' he told weekly Soccer Laduma publication. 'We haven't played the best football and we have not selected the best players that this country has.

'It's more about who you play for or who you are rather than your form when the national team is selected.

'I think that if you play for certain teams then you get selected even though you're not good enough or not on form.'

The 1996 African Nations Cup champions have endured a terrible time of late, slumping to 67th in the latest FIFA world rankings.

McCarthy said: 'It's a massive shame. It's a big embarrassment for the players and the country. But things never seem to change.

'South Africa don't select their best players. If you play for (Kaizer) Chiefs and (Orlando) Pirates then you get selected, regardless of whether you are good enough or not, but hey, that's good enough for us, right?

'With the right player selection, based on merit, on what you are doing at your club, where it doesn't matter if you're from Cape Town or anywhere else in the country and it doesn't matter whether you can't speak Zulu or Xhosa or any other language, where all that counts is that you have a South African passport and are willing to play, then yes, I think we can become a force.'

The Blackburn Rovers forward is no stranger to controversy having failed to report to training on numerous occasions after being called up for national duty.

Last year, he was talked out of an 18-month international exile by previous national coach Carlos Alberto Parreira.

However, after helping the country qualify for the 2008 African Nations Cup, he was surprisingly left out of the squad for the tournament in Ghana as Parreira opted for younger players with a view to the 2010 World Cup.

He was handed a recall by new coach Joel Santana earlier this year, but again failed to turn up at training and was subsequently suspended for four matches.

He added: 'If the manager feels he wants to select me, he can select me. I'm available. If I'm not selected it's because they feel they can do without me, I'm not needed and I have to accept that and get on with my life.'

end

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