JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa’s desperate search for a goal scorer before they host the World Cup led on Thursday to 32-year-old Siyabonga Nomvete being recalled for a training camp after an absence of almost three years.
Nomvete was named by coach Carlos Alberto Parreira in a 25-man squad for three weeks of training in Germany, starting on Monday.
His recall comes after a flurry of goals for his club Moroka Swallows in the closing stages of the South African league season.
Nomvete, who scored the goal that gave South Africa their lone World Cup finals win over Slovenia in South Korea in 2002, won the last of his 72 caps in October 2007. He has scored 15 goals for his country.
Also recalled was striker Katlego Mashego of Orlando Pirates for the second part of Parreira’s preparations camps for locally-based players ahead of the World Cup which starts on June 11.
South Africa’s scoring problems were highlighted by the fact the league’s leading scorer, Katlego Mphela, managed only one goal in more than a dozen games against club opposition during a camp in Brazil last month.
Their main scoring hopes are pinned on 32-year-old Benni McCarthy but Parreira has repeatedly expressed his concern over the lack of game time for the striker at West Ham United and, before his transfer in January, Blackburn Rovers.
South Africa’s second choice striker Bernard Parker has played only a substitute role at Dutch league leaders FC Twente this season.
None of South Africa’s foreign based players, save for Ajax Amsterdam junior Daylon Claasen, are available for the training camp in Germany.
“The Germany camp is getting closer to the World Cup, so we have to show some improvements as a team, we can’t afford any retrogression, and as a result we have to improve further from our previous gains,” Parreira told a news conference.
“The team has shape and we are now competitive tactically and physically.”
Editing by Sonia Oxley