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Monday, April 29, 2002

Radebe set for national squad return

JOHANNESBURG, April 29 (Reuters) - Injury-plagued Lucas Radebe will discover whether he has done enough to be considered for a place at the World Cup when South Africa coach Jomo Sono names a preliminary squad of around 30 players on Tuesday.

Sono, who replaced the Portuguese trainer Carlos Queiroz in March, is to name the squad in Johannesburg ahead of a week-long training camp scheduled for the coastal city of Durban from May 6.

The possible return of former captain Radebe after a long-standing injury and another English-based defender Mark Fish, who has not played for his country since October 2000, is anticipated.

Radebe, who has had a string of knee injuries, has not played for Leeds United since March last year but returned to the reserve side earlier this month and has played in three matches in recent weeks in a bid to stake a claim in the 23-man World Cup squad.

Fish has also been in rehabilitation in Johannesburg after undergoing knee surgery, which has kept him out of the Charlton Athletic side since February.

He last played for South Africa against France in a friendly international but was then ignored by coach Queiroz and has missed the last 24 internationals.

There is also uncertainty over the selection of current captain Shaun Bartlett, who has been unable to win back his place in the Charlton first team squad since returning from the African Nations Cup finals in February.

Also under a cloud is the defender Pierre Issa, discarded by English first division club Watford this year and whose last club match was an FA Cup tie against Arsenal in January.

Sono has had four internationals in charge since taking over as coach but used all the games to blood inexperienced fringe players, leaving little clarity over his plans.

South Africa lost to Saudi Arabia and Georgia and played out goalless draws against Botswana and Ecuador in their last two games.

BRIGHT SPOT

One bright spot for the coach will be the return to form of striker Benni McCarthy, who has scored successive hat tricks over the last two weeks for his Portuguese club FC Porto.

McCarthy first sprang to international prominence when Sono coached the South African side at the 1998 African Nations Cup finals in Burkina Faso.

Seven goals from the striker propelled South Africa to the final and earned the McCarthy the player of the tournament award.

Sono is to announce his final 23 on May 9, although this date could change after the planned training camp in Durban was put back by a week.

South Africa play three more internationals before the World Cup, hosting Madagascar in Durban on May 12 and then playing against Scotland and Turkey in a four-nation tournament in Hong Kong.

South Africa's first World Cup game is against Paraguay in Pusan on June 2. Slovenia and Spain are also in their opening round group.

soccernet
 

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XT Post Number King
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Tuesday, April 30, 2002

Door still open for Radebe, says Sono
Mark Gleeson

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Former South African captain Lucas Radebe could still make his country's World Cup squad if he proves his fitness and there was an injury to another player, coach Jomo Sono said after leaving him out of a preliminary squad for the finals.

Sono said he would monitor the return of the Leeds United defender from a 13-month injury lay-off and put him on stand-by for the competition.

'We will match his progress and if there is an injury he could come in,' Sono told reporters in Johannesburg after naming 30 possible players for the World Cup.

Radebe was the only surprise omission when Sono named his preliminary squad, which will be cut down to 23 for the finals in South Korea and Japan.

As expected, there was also no place in Tuesday's squad for Eric Tinkler from Barnsley, despite him having captained the South Africa side at the Nations Cup finals in January.

Midfielder Tinkler, a regular in the South African squad since 1994, missed the last World Cup finals in France through injury.

England-based Radebe, who has been out injured since March last year, played his first full 90 minutes for the Leeds United reserve team on Thursday and had been hoping he would be fit enough to compete at the World Cup finals.

A knee injury has kept him out of English premier league action all season, although he has played a bit part in two other reserve team games in recent weeks.

Sono did, however, include Charlton Athletic defender Mark Fish and his team mate Shaun Bartlett, both of whom have struggled with injury in recent months.

Fish returns to the squad for the first time in 18 months. He last played for South Africa against world champions France in October 2000, then asked to be left out for several matches to concentrate on his club career at Charlton.

REHABILITATION

Last year he announced his willingness to return to the national team line-up, but was ignored by previous coach Carlos Queiroz. Fish has been in rehabilitation in Johannesburg after undergoing knee surgery, which has kept him out since February.

Bartlett has also not played in the English premier league since returning from the African Nations Cup finals in February.

Defender Pierre Issa from Watford, who has also been inactive since the tournament in Mali, was also included.

Sono's 30-man squad features 11 players from clubs in the South African premier league and the other 19 from teams in Europe.

Eight played at the 1998 World Cup finals in France. The only surprise was the inclusion of Greek-born striker George Koumantarakis, who won the last of his four caps in June 2000.

Koumantarakis won the Swiss league at the weekend with his club FC Basle. The only uncapped player is Steven Pienaar, who has recently broken into Ajax Amsterdam's first team.

The squad will meet in Durban next week and will be cut down to 23 ahead of the deadline for the naming of the final squads in late May.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Andre Arendse (Santos), Emile Baron (Lillestrom, Norway), Calvin Marlin (Ajax Cape Town), Hans Vonk (SC Heerenveen, Netherlands)

Defenders: Matthew Booth (Mamelodi Sundowns), Bradley Carnell (VFB Stuttgart, Germany), Mark Fish (Charlton Athletic, England), Pierre Issa (Watford, England), Jacob Lekgetho (Lokomotiv Moscow, Russia), Mbulelo Mabizela (Orlando Pirates), Aaron Mokoena (Germinal Beerschot, Belgium), Thabang Molefe (Jomo Cosmos), Cyril Nzama (Kaizer Chiefs)

Midfielders: Delron Buckley (VfL Bochum, Germany), Quinton Fortune (Manchester United, England), Thabo Mngomeni (Orlando Pirates), Bennett Mnguni (Lokomotiv Moscow, Russia), Lovers Mohlala (Mamelodi Sundowns), Tebeho Mokoena (ST Gallen, Switzerland), McDonald Mukansi (Chernomorets Bourgas, Bulgaria), Steven Pienaar (Ajax Amsterdam, Netherlands), Jabu Pule (Kaizer Chiefs), MacBeth Sibaya (Jomo Cosmos), Sibusiso Zuma (FC Copenhagen, Denmark)

Strikers: Bradley August (Santos), Shaun Bartlett (Charlton Athletic, England), George Koumantarakis (FC Basle, Switzerland), Clement Mazibuko (Umtata Bush Bucks), Benni McCarthy (FC Porto, Portugal), Siyabonga Nomvete

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