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Page last updated at 14:19 GMT, Wednesday, 28 May 2008 15:19 UK

McCarthy to miss qualifiers

South Africa striker Benni McCarthy
Benni McCarthy has withdrawn from the South Africa squad

South Africa striker Benni McCarthy has announced that he will miss Bafana Bafana's four 2010 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in June.

He has withdrawn from the squad due to unspecified personal problems after a meeting with South Africa's Brazilian coach Joel Santana.

"I had a frank, but good discussion with Benni where we listened with full attention to what he had to say," the coach said.

"We appreciate the situation that he has explained to us and we therefore fully understand the personal circumstances that he finds himself under.

"I also put our position very clear to him that we want this to be the last time we have to talk about him.

"Benni is one of the best players in the world and that cannot be ignored.

"The door has been left opened to him for future, but it will also be up to him.

I have great respect for coach Santana and appreciate that he understood my current family issues

Benni McCarthy

"We have important games now that we want to focus on. I have just arrived in South Africa and I have a job to do."

McCarthy appreciated the understanding showed by Santana.

"I have great respect for coach Santana and appreciate that he understood my current family issues," he said.

"Admittedly, I must say that I'm a little bit disappointed that I won't feature in any of the four qualifiers but then I understand that the coach does not want me to disrupt his camp.

"On the other hand, it gives me an opportunity to address my personal issues and hope I will be called up in the future."

As hosts South Africa do not have to qualify for the 2010 World Cup, but must earn a place at the Nations Cup in Angola earlier in the year.

They begin their Group 4 campaign on Sunday against Nigeria in Abuja.

The Blackburn Rovers striker was surprisingly left out of the squad for the 2008 Nations Cup in Ghana, but has spoken of his desire to play in his country's own World Cup in 2010.

Mamelodi Sundowns striker Lerato Chabangu has already been called up as a replacement.

Meanwhile Nigeria will be missing Danny Shittu from their opening four games of the campaign.

The Watford defender has suffered a knee injury and may be out for as much as eight weeks.

see also
McCarthy wants Cup swansong
07 Mar 08 |  African
2010 World Cup Qualifiers
27 Mar 08 |  African
Santana names first SA squad
21 May 08 |  African
Blues link affected me - McCarthy
02 May 08 |  Blackburn
SA drop McCarthy for Nations Cup
30 Nov 07 |  African
McCarthy in Blackburn pledge
25 Feb 08 |  African
McCarthy set to end Bafana exile
29 Aug 07 |  African

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