By RON FANFAIR
South Africa’s top goalscorer is out of the upcoming soccer World Cup.
The 32-year-old Benni McCarthy has struggled with his fitness and come in for criticism at home for being overweight.
Coach Alberto Parreira refused to talk about players who did not make the final squad.
“We applied five principles when making our choices,” he said. “This is not the end of the road for the players whose dreams I have cut short. There will be other opportunities to play for the national team.”
McCarthy has notched a record 31 goals in 79 matches for his country and represented the national side at both the 1998 and 2002 World Cups. However, his relationship with the national side has not always been smooth. He has twice previously retired from international soccer when it clashed with his club career in Europe, damaging his reputation in his homeland.
A knee injury also limited his involvement with his English club West Ham since joining them last February from premier league rivals Blackburn. He took part in just one of his country’s warm-up matches last month, coming on as a second-half substitute in a 2-1 win over Colombia at Soccer City last week.
South Africa’s group also includes Mexico, Uruguay and France.
Ghana’s midfielder, Laryea Kingston, who feuded with his club Hearts mid-season over his commitment to the national team will also be absent from the World Cup. He was desperate to play in South Africa after missing the last World Cup in Germany through suspension.
Veteran players Eric Addo and Haminu Dramani were also left off the Ghanaian squad.
Cameroon, meanwhile, has included star striker Samuel Eto’o despite his threat to walk away from the tournament. Eto’o, who is unhappy with criticism levelled against him by former Cameroon international Roger Milla, will captain the side in South Africa.
The Indomitable Lions is in the same group with Denmark, Japan and The Netherlands.