Benni backs Erasmus to regain Bafana place
Striker is on a mission to resurrect his career since joining Cape Town City
Bafana Bafana’s leading goal-scorer over the years, Benni McCarthy, has backed striker Kermit Erasmus to force his way back into the national team fold just in time for 2019’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Egypt.
Erasmus has played little football in the past three seasons due to unsuccessful stints at European clubs since leaving Orlando Pirates for France in 2015.
The Port Elizabeth-born striker is on a mission to regain full match fitness and resurrect his career since joining Cape Town City on a three-year contract in December.
Since his move to Cape Town‚ Erasmus has contributed two goals in five appearances in all competitions‚ both strikes coming in his last two games‚ as he rediscovers his scoring touch while getting vital playing time.
City coach McCarthy said Erasmus has set himself a goal to return to Bafana and is working hard towards that. The City coach said that with a few more goals in the coming weeks‚ national team coach Stuart Baxter will find it difficult not to include the striker in the national team.
“He wants to get himself fully fit and ready and I think he has the qualities to mix it up [in the national team]‚” McCarthy said.
“Imagine having a front three at Bafana Bafana with Kermit Erasmus‚ Lebo Mothiba and Percy Tau. … it’s frightening‚” said McCarthy‚ who himself wrote his name in national team folklore with his record 31 goals in 80 appearances.
Bafana play Libya in neighbouring Tunisia in their final Afcon qualifying match needing to avoid defeat to qualify for the 24-nation tournament in Egypt from June 21 to July 19.
That game may come too soon for Erasmus but McCarthy revealed that the striker harbours ambitions of cracking the nod for Baxter’s final Afcon squad.
“That is the intention and he has a good run of games to give these kinds of performances," McCarthy said.
“If he can score two or three goals [in the coming weeks] then he has got to go for it because I think with him putting in performances like this‚ keeping his scoring tally ticking‚ it is impossible for coach Stuart Baxter to ignore him.”
The last time Erasmus was in the national squad was in June in the opening Afcon qualifying round against Nigeria in Uyo‚ where Bafana won 2-0.