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Page last updated at 09:41 GMT, Tuesday, 18 November 2008

McCarthy boost for South Africa

Benni McCarthy
McCarthy will be available for South Africa on Wednesday

Striker Benni McCarthy has agreed to play for South Africa in a friendly against Cameroon on Wednesday.

The Blackburn ace is staying on in the country after attending the funeral of his father Dudley at the weekend.

He was given a leave of absence by Rovers manager Paul Ince to miss the match against Sunderland, which Blackburn lost 2-1.

"We allowed Benni to make his decision without any pressure," South Africa team manager Sipho Nkumane said.

"We understand what a loss he has suffered and would have fully understood if he decided not to play.

"But he has shown his commitment to Bafana and we are delighted. It is a huge boost for the squad."

Meanwhile, McCarthy's England-based compatriot Steven Pienaar has withdrawn from the game because of injury.

Pienaar's club Everton have angered South African football officials by keeping the midfielder instead of allowing Bafana Bafana medical staff to check his injury.

The countries will compete for the Nelson Mandela Challenge trophy in this north-west town with South Africa trying to avoid a hat-trick of losses in the annual match after going down to Egypt and the United States.

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see also
Model's death 'devastates' player
11 Nov 08 |  Manchester
South Africa win at last
01 Oct 08 |  African
No need for Bafana panic - Khoza
16 Sep 08 |  African

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