Bafana Bafana head coach Molefi Ntseki has explained why he will not select foreign-born duo of Gaston Sirino and Samir Nurkovic in his national team squad for now.
Kaizer Chiefs’ Nurkovic who was born in Serbia recently declared himself available for South Africa, while Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane has been calling for the inclusion of Uruguayan playmaker Sirino.
The pair is yet to represent their countries of birth which makes them eligible to play for South Africa if they become neutralised citizens.
But according to coach Ntseki, the focus right now is on profiling South African-born players.
He told IOL: “The attention that we are giving is to profile South African players.
“We must be very careful. Let me make an example of Sirino and Nurkovic. Are we giving enough attention to what we have before we can move for a player that has to be naturalised? Are we comparing that player with what we have in the country and giving opportunities to what we have in the country?
“If you go to the junior teams, all the junior teams have given our players an opportunity to play for their country. That’s why most of them are playing overseas.
“I’m talking about the likes of Lyle Foster, Gift Links, Kabomelo Kodisang, Liam Jordan and Luther Singh. These players played for our junior teams, and they are now in the overseas market.”
Ntseki adds that the process of bringing neutralised players in the Bafana Bafana squad should be done in a way that will protect both the coach and the player.
“If we don’t have anybody who can be of a level of the second player, it means we will always be looking into that player.
“Let’s say we approach a (naturalised) player, and we say we are interested in him playing for our country, but that has to be done in such a way that the player will be protected and the coach will also be protected.
“What will happen if that player doesn’t have a good first game or second game? People will start to say all the negative things about that player. We need to do it properly,” he said.
The coach insists he will focus on SA-born players when the World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers resume.
“Let us make an example of Rushine de Reuck. He was born (in South Africa) in 1996 and then there is someone like Ricardo Nascimento (who is Brazilian) from Sundowns.
“Nascimento is older than Rushine. If you were to overlook Rushine, who are you disadvantaging? People will say instead of helping in the development of football and selecting Rushine, you have decided to convert a non-South African to be a South African.
“That is the reality of the situation, and that’s why I say we should not be emotional about it.”