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'Give Sibeko a chance' 01/09/04
Fans columnist Maurice Maubane is back with his latest installment, and he thinks that Bafana coach Stuart Baxter need look no further than Cavann Sibeko for the midfield holding role.

It must be very frustrating to be an objective football analyst in this country. After a very structured and wonderful display against Tunisia, it seems our coach is now trying to go back to the Mabizela-The Midfielder fiasco.

There is a school of thought which suggests that Baxter intends using Nasief Morris in the central midfield position for the game against the DRC.

Lord Save Us!! Nasief is currently being played out of position as it is and to require him to play in the central midfield will be to invite disaster. The dynamics of midfield play and defense are very different, however inter-linked.

The best you can get out of Nasief is when you play him as a central defender, Period!!

This also begs the question: When will the National Coach consider bringing in Cavann Sibeko into the national set up? What more must he do to be considered as seemingly his form will never be used as a yardstick?

It becomes an insult to the SA public and the players themselves when a striker is expected to play as goalkeeper when there are so many capable players available and ready to play that part. Take the game between Chiefs and Supersport United as an example for Sibeko's case.

I suppose the coach would want to play a counter attacking game against the DRC away. You go back to that game of SS United against Chiefs, count how many times did Sibeko interrupt Chiefs attacks, set up counters for his team with a maximum of three touches and you tell won't he be a better bet for that role in the Bafana set up than Nassief!

For the record, what he did against Chiefs was not a fluke, he does that on almost every occasion he plays for SS United.

Against Wits, SS United were struggling to penetrate the opponents defense. He came on as a substitute. His second touch set Raselemane free and brought the best out of Roberts. Even more, he is occasionally played as a sweeper and would shame some of the "highly rated" defenders in the country with his calmness!

Some might say Sibeko has been out injured and therefore needs time to recover his form. I beg to differ. The coach has created a very interesting precedence, which saw Lucky Lekgwathi rushing straight into the National Team from injury without giving a commendable performance.

Worse still , he plays in a position where one mistake can cost the team a game. Siboniso " Pa" Gaxa, Jimmy Tau, Cyril Nzama, Peter Petersen and even Tshiamo Seneo would have made better choices ahead of Lekgwathi AND Winstanley!

I'm no big fan of Rugby, but I like what Jake White-coach is doing. You select horses for courses and do not compromise the quality that makes opponents think twice about you.

Counter attacking football: Sibeko or Morris/Sibaya? I insist on Sibeko. Calmness under pressure: Sibeko or Morris/Sibaya? Sibeko comes out tops

It is about time we nurture our own talent in crucial positions for the benefit. Baxter and Steve, please sit down with Pitso and ask him how he brings the best out of this young exceptional talent.

While you are at it ask about "Pa" Gaxa! Give these good young Players an opportunity to make a mark and contribution to the National Team. In this way you will also be encouraging other young players and coaches not to have fear of producing good quality material.

Give this boy a chance and you are surely going to benefit South Africa.



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