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Bafana Bafana's Right-back Riddle 05/01/04
During the Golden Era of Clive Barker there was no debate as to who would comprise Bafana Bafanas back four.

Mark 'Feeesh' Fish with captain Neil 'Mokoko' Tovey the formidable core flanked by the superb talents of David 'Going Up' Nyathi on the left and the late Sizwe Motaung on the right both of who thrilled fans with their ability to attack in unison.

These guys were almost the first names on the team sheet and the rock on which Barker built arguably South Africas finest hours. It was arguably the best defence we've had and the latter attacked in tandem and aroused the crowd whenever they had the ball knowing that Nyathi would be going up and Motaung would too.

Dont you feel nostalgic when you think of players of this caliber in defence?

But sadly this seems like a bygone age as the current national coach has struggled to settle on a permamnet back four, the right back position in particular giving him sleepless nights.

Former Wits University centre back Tony Coyle has been used unsuccessfully in the position after it seemed destined that Orlando Pirates defender Lucky Lekgwathi would make it his own.

However the cruel fate of a serious injury has deprived SA of Lekgwtahis services for an extended period of time.

Coyle just does not fit into the mould of an attacking defender while Lekgwathi slotted into this role with ease.

Cyril Nzama has made 30 international appearances for South Africa, including a solid showing at the last World Cup, but the Kaizer Chiefs '4X4' has been ignored despite his good form for the Amakhosi this seaon.

Mind you the way he was run rugged by the Orlando Pirates duo of Joseph Makhanya and Patrick Twala recently must have added 10 years onto his age and may have proven his detractors right .

Potential players to fill the right-back spot that come to mind are Phil Evans from SuperSport, Ryan 'Skins' Hodgskin of Wits, Jimmy Tau of the Buccaneers and SA under-23 international Peter Petersen who hails from Soweto club Moroka Swallows.

These guys have not been mentioned yet are stalwarts for their clubs.

Evans has kept his place at United for more than two seasons and is even trusted with penalties, of which he has only missed one in his career.
Tau has taken advantage of Lekgwathi's absence and has become a crowd favourite with his coolness on the ball and the ability to fool his opponents, like he did to Zain Brown of Hellenic in a league game earlier this season.

Hodgskin is part of arguably the best defence in the Castle Premiership and has silenced the likes of Jabu Pule, Graham King and Josep Ngake when he comes up against them with his mental and sometimes physical intimidation.

Petersen is a regular in Swallows defence and at the age of 22 surely can establish himself in the senior national team given an opportunity.

So why the uncertainty as to who will fill the shoes of the late Motaung when we have four young players who are capable defenders and have a unique style of play too.

by Shahied Jospeh

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