[vc_column column_padding=”padding-2-percent” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_link_target=”_self” column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”2/3″ tablet_width_inherit=”default” tablet_text_alignment=”default” Being a top footballer at the highest level is never easy, especially when your hard work tends to go unnoticed by your national team. Whether you’re a rising star or a veteran of the game, missing out on a call-up by your country can be the cause of many things. Perhaps the timing is just not right, or, the national team head coach deems the player not good enough for the task at hand.
Here, we take a look at an uncapped Bafana Bafana XI, which, in all honesty, proves that we’re certainly not short of talent in Mzansi.
GK: Siyabonga Mbatha (Amazulu)
After a stellar campaign last season for AmaZulu, keeping 10 clean sheets in just 24 appearances, Siyabonga Mbatha thought it was finally going to be his time to represent Bafana Bafana, especially with Itumeleng Khune out injured. Before the 2019 Afcon tournament, the big toss-up between being the third choice for South Africa was Mbatha, the in-form one, Wayne Sandilands, the experienced one, or Bruce Bvuma – the youthful goalkeeper who Stuart Baxter opted to go with to Africa’s biggest football showpiece. Mbatha kept the scoreline respectable in AmaZulu’s defeat to Orlando Pirates last weekend, and with more solid performances, the 30-year-old shot-stopper could finally make his debut in the green and yellow colours of Bafana Bafana.
RB: Nyiko Mobbie
Nyiko Mobbie seems to have gone under the radar since his loan move from Mamelodi Sundowns to Stellenbosch, but the pacey full-back has been superb in the Western Cape. Enjoying a bulk of game time under Steve Barker, Mobbie can definitely rejuvenate his career after getting relegated with Free State Stars.
At just 25 years old, the Stellies right-back still has age on his side, while he is still contracted to one of the so-called big three in the country. There hasn’t been a right-sided full-back to make that position his own for the national team in recent years, so perhaps Mobbie could be the player in the near future.
CB: Rushine De Reuck (Maritzburg United)
It’s looking like it’s a case of when, not if, Rushine De Reuck could make the Bafana Bafana national team. The 24-year-old burst onto the scene last season and has been a mainstay in Eric Tinkler’s side ever since. De Reuck had no shortage of offers for his services earlier this season but decided that playing his football in KwaZulu-Natal was the best for his career at the moment, where he has kept nine clean sheets with Maritzburg United this term. His football career has just started, but De Reuck will be in the Bafana Bafana fold soon – without a shadow of a doubt.
— ThamiSoccer (@ThamiSoccer) February 13, 2020
Tall and quick centre-backs are a rare breed in football, but when given a platform to shine, they tend to make their mark. Taariq Fielies ticks all boxes in that aspect and has been a consistent performer for Cape Town City in recent seasons. When absent for the Cape-based side, his physical presence is certainly missed, while Fielies also shows great leadership skills on the pitch. Definitely one of the best centre-backs yet to feature for the Bafana Bafana team in my opinion.At left-back, there isn’t a better yet to represent their country than Orlando Pirates’ Bongani Sam. The 22-year-old thrived at Bloemfontein Celtic before making the move to the Buccaneers, where he is slowly starting to find his feet again under the tutelage of Josef Zinnbauer. Pirates have won both games convincingly in which Sam has featured in this season, so the left-footed defender seems to have a good omen in his favour – which is desperately needed for Bafana Bafana.Another shocker on this list in Orlando Pirates’ Ben Motshwari. How he doesn’t have an appearance for Bafana Bafana is baffling. Motshwari has been likened to France international, N’Golo Kante, because of his tireless work ethic and his ball-winning skills in the middle of the park. Motshwari is an excellent distributor of the ball as well and has shown that he’s capable of fitting into any style of play – excelling at both Bidvest Wits and Orlando Pirates.Not only has Cole Alexander gone unrecognized by the Bafana Bafana national team, but many don’t see the hard work he showcases in the engine room of Bidvest Wits. Since his crucial injury at Polokwane City, Alexander has revived his career despite being 30, he remains a good option in a congested midfield group for current head coach, Molefi Ntseki, at Bafana Bafana.Undoubtedly the biggest shock on this list has to be Cape Town City midfielder, Thabo Nodada. Not only has the Ixopo-born star been one of the best footballers from the uncapped players, but overall, Nodada has been one of the standout performers in the Absa Premiership, across all nationalities.
The 24-year-old also has age on his side and famously posted a video on social media when called up to Bafana Bafana’s preliminary squad, but sadly, his name was cut short from the final list of players. In due time, Nodada will definitely get his chance to don the famous Bafana Bafana jersey.
Thabo Nodada’ first touch ??? pic.twitter.com/ZAKRNd90Ij
— Cape Town City FC (@CapeTownCityFC) January 15, 2019
SuperSport United’s versatile maestro, Sipho Mbule, is just 21 years of age and has broken out as one of the standout players to lead South Africa in the next generation. With the current crop of players coming to their swansong in the national team, Bafana Bafana can definitely build their squad around Mbule in the immediate future.
Mbule has played in multiple midfield areas this term for Matsatsantsa, netting three times already this campaign. Having already represented South Africa in the junior division, Mbule will definitely get his chance soon at senior level.
— Official PSL (@OfficialPSL) December 17, 2019
Dumisani Zuma has been Kaizer Chiefs’ go-to man off the bench in recent seasons, and you get the feeling that once he gets more starts for the Glamour Boys, Zuma will earn a spot in the national set-up. The 24-year-old star can play anywhere in attack, which makes him a key option when things are not going your way on the playing field. Zuma has started just once for Chiefs this term, netting a brace against Chippa United. Overall, the talented KZN-born gem has a further goal and three assists to his name.Having been one of the standout players of the Absa Premiership this season, AmaZulu’s goal machine, Bongi Ntuli, could be rewarded with a call-up to the Bafana Bafana squad – just like Mothobi Mvala last season. Ntuli has found the back of the net 10 times in 20 appearances for Usuthu and if he continues his goalscoring exploits, it will be harder and harder to leave his name out when picking someone to lead the line for the country.
CB: De Reuck