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Rulani Questions Lakay’s Bafana Absence

Mamelodi Sundowns co-head coach Rulani Mokwena has questioned Lyle Lakay’s absence from Bafana Bafana before the new squad was announced, and was surprised to see a right-footed player featuring at left-back instead.

Lakay was not included in the Hugo Broos’ recent squad that collected four points against Zimbabwe (0-0) and Ghana (1-0) earlier this month in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers games and was again omitted from the new 34-man provisional squad on Tuesday.

Nyiko Mobbie featured as left-back in both encounters and Broos later explained that he hasn’t found the perfect player for the position yet, but Mokwena seemed confused as to why Lakay hasn’t been given a chance.

“Well, I watched Bafana, I watched Bafana against Ghana, I watched the entire Cosafa tournament,” Mokwena told reporters before the new squad was announced.

“You want to ask me why I think Lyle is not in the Bafana team is because when I watched Bafana I see (Evidence) Makgopa up-front I see (Bongani) Hlongwane up-front and then I see a right footed full-back at left-back.”

The Sundowns coach was asked again to clarify whether he expected Lakay and also Mosa Lebusa to be called up to the next Bafana squad.

“We respect the Bafana coach, he’s got to make his own decisions and he’s got his own job to do,” Mokwena added.

“I mean can you imagine 52 million people who have opinions about who should be in the Bafana team.

“I’m a football coach, I know what it’s like to be put in a position where you are under a lot of scrutiny and pressure to put certain players, but if we speak on meritocracy, if we speak on having the best players to represent the national team, for sure then – without being biased or sounding biased – of course if you ask me about any Mamelodi Sundowns players, the first answer would definitely be a yes, because I’ve got look after the interest of our players.

“We want our players to be exposed to the national teams, we want our players to represent the nation and that’s why we sign the best players in the country and when you have the best players in the country, you expect to go into a FIFA window without any player in fact during the FIFA break.

“The best thing for us is to got to the MDC side, go to the U19s, go to the U13s and hold training sessions there. That’s what we would like to do during the FIFA break, to try to bread this culture and playing style and the only way to do that is by having all our player represent the national team.

“Maybe a simple way to answer your question is yes, because we love our players and we believe that they are the best in the country. And when they show that they are the best and when they work, and on merit they show they deserve to be in the national team, then of course, without putting pressure on the Bafana technical team, of course the answer is yes.”

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