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SA SOCCER NEWS
Wits Stopper Left Behind 09/01/04
Bafana Bafana left for Mauritius on Thursday but without Wits goalkeeper Wayne Roberts.

The Clever Boys stopper failed to make the trip after he discovered his passport had expired.

Norway-based Emile Baron now becomes the obvious choice to take up a position between the posts for the Cosafa Cup match against the Islanders at the George V Stadium.

It is still unclear whether Bafana caretaker coach Styles Phumo will fly in a replacement for Roberts as he now has only one keeper at his disposal after he also chose to leave Andre Arendse at home.

Roberts was widely expected to start against Mauritius based on his sterling performances for Wits this season.

It would have also given him the chance to nail down the position ahead of the African Nations Cup which starts in two weeks time.

Baron now has the inside track and he will be hoping for a more assured display than the one he put on against Egypt recently when he was found badly wanting.

Against Mauriius, though, Phumo is expected to play a conventional 4-4-2 system.

Russia-based Jacob Lekgetho should start at leftback ahead of David Kannemeyer with the dependable Aaron Mokoena and Tony Coyle doing duty in the centre of Bafanas rearguard.

The problematic right-back spot will probably go to Neil Winstanley, the only member of the traveling party who is not part of the squad going to the Nations Cup.

The skilful Delron Buckley will provide pace and flair down the left flank but the German-based player will need to deliver a polished performance this time around following a few lackluster showings in a national jersey recently.

The centre midfield should see the silky skills of the ageless veteran John Shoes Moshoeu paired with the steely tackling of MacBeth Sibaya, with either Jabu Pule or his Kaizer Chiefs teammate Stanton Fredericks doing duty on the right.

Up front Patrick Mayo and Sibusiso Zuma will be expected to terrorise the Mauritian defence all afternoon.

The match will be a good test of the players characters following the upheaval created around the suspension of national coach Shakes Mashaba earlier in the week.

Despite the trademark guts and strong running by the home side, South Africa should have little trouble in getting a positive result, something that will do their confidence much good ahead of the continental showpiece in North Africa later this month.

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