SANTOS striker Eleazar Rodgers has been withdrawn from the Bafana Bafana squad to face Gabon in an international friendly match this evening.
The match will be played at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit, and will kickoff at 8.30pm
Rodgers has been requested by his club to return to help them in the National First Division play-offs which were earlier suspended but will now resume this coming Wednesday in Cape Town. Santos will face Chippa United.
“I think I am missing out on a wonderful opportunity to play for my country, but then again my club also needs me. It’s a kind of situation no player wants to find himself in, but like I have been saying everything happens for a reason. I just hope I get another chance to play for Bafana Bafana and show what I can give to the nation. It’s really sad but I have to take it the way it is. I also want to wish Bafana Bafana the best of luck against Gabon, hope they do really well,” said Rodgers.
Rodgers will depart for Cape Town this morning.
The striker did not take part in the squad’s last training session at the Mbombela Stadium.
“This is out of my hands, but if you ask me I would have loved for the boy to stay and play for his country. We had worked so much with him at training and just on the eve of the match we get news that he has to return to his club. It’s a sad situation for the player and for the team, but we have to soldier on and find an alternative approach to the match,” said caretaker coach Steve Komphela, who now has 20 players to chose from for the clash against Gabon after releasing five players from the squad earlier in the week.
After two draws in the World Cup qualifiers, South Africa now faces a Gabon side that is ranked 49th in the world compared to Bafana Bafana’s 69th.
“We are optimistic that we will do well, whoever starts knows what they must do and what is expected of them. The team has been formulated and we need the confidence and the inspiration not only for ourselves but also for the nation. It is bad when South Africans get into the mode of saying ‘I hope we win’ but we need to say a win is guaranteed irrespective of where Gabon is placed on the rankings,” said Komphela.
Meanwhile tickets for the match are still available.
Tickets on the lower and upper concourse are R50 and can be bought at Computicket outlets, Shoprite and Shoprite stores around the country.
No tickets will be sold at the stadium on Match Day.
Park and Ride:
There will be a full park and ride in operation for the match this evening at the following pick-up points:
Public Transport Hub in the CBD
• All match tickets entitle spectators to use the buses
• Spectators must present a valid match ticket when boarding the buses to the Stadium
• There will be two pick -up points at the Stadium after the match that will be clearly marked
• The same buses will be travelling to Public Transport Hub and the Show grounds after the match
• Buses will transport spectators to the pick – up points until all spectators have left the stadium and there will be no need to rush for the buses
• There will be sufficient buses to transport all the spectators
• Buses will start leaving the pick-up points at 5pm