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Page last updated at 14:05 GMT, Friday, 11 September 2009 15:05 UK

Dikgacoi: "Bring back Benni"

Benni McCarthy
South Africa's Dikgacoi says bring back Benni

Kagisho Dikgacoi has urged South Africa coach Joel Santana to recall Benni McCarthy before next year's World Cup.

McCarthy has not featured for his country since a friendly against Chile in February.

This week they suffered their sixth successive defeat, losing 1-0 to Republic of Ireland.

"I think the team really misses Benni," he said.

Fulham midfielder Dikgacoi believes the return of the man who has scored a record 31 goals for his country could transform their campaign.

"Benni has a lot of experience of playing at the top level and the young players would really benefit from that.

"He's a great player and always scores goals when he plays for us. I hope something can be done to get him back in the team."

McCarthy was left out of the squad for June's Confederations Cup because he decided to remain in England during the build-up to the tournament.

He stayed to prove his fitness to Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce.

Santana decided to prolong his absence but the pressure is now building for him to recall the 31-year-old.

"I'd like to see Benni involved again but that relies on the coach," said Neil Tovey, who was captain when South Africa won the African Nations Cup in 1996.

"We are seriously missing some attacking flair but there's not much you can do because changing the coach so soon before the tournament wouldn't be good," he said.

"I don't think he's on the right path" Tovey said of the coach.

"Santana has a very defensive outlook but we are only playing friendly matches so I don't know what he's trying to do."

Despite their losing run, Dikgacoi, who could make his debut for Fulham on Sunday against Everton, does believe South Africa are making progress.

"It was disappointing because we should have won against Ireland," he lamented.

"We dominated the game in terms of possession but just couldn't find a way to score."

"We tried a few shots at goal from distance but it was hard to find a way through their defence.

"The results look pretty bad but the confidence is there among the players because of the performance in the Confederations Cup.

"The problem is scoring goals but we know how to keep the ball really well now and that is very important at international level."

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see also
Rep of Ireland 1-0 South Africa
08 Sep 09 |  Internationals
Santana satisfied as Bafana lose
06 Sep 09 |  African
South Africa stick by Bryce Moon
27 Aug 09 |  African

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