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Masinga blasts Bafana deserters

Eleven players called up for the Australasia tour have removed themselves for various reasons.

Bafana Bafana will tour Australasia at the end of May. Picture: Facebook.

CAPE TOWN - Former Bafana Bafana player Phil Masinga has told EWN Sport that it is an "absolute disgrace" that so many players have withdrawn from the national team ahead of their tour to Australasia.

Coach Gordon Igesund on Wednesday announced 11 players were unavailable for the trip for various reasons.

Masinga, who was capped 58 times for Bafana, says the situation is unacceptable.

"Personally, I think it's an absolute disgrace to see so many players pulling out of the national team for a tour like this, citing injuries, fatigue and all kinds of things."

The former striker, who scored 18 goals for Bafana, says it's a sad reality that some players don't feel honoured playing for the national team.

"I thought it was an honour for any player, globally, to be representing his country. But it doesn't seem to be like that here at home."

Masinga says players like Cristiano Ronaldo should be admired for their commitment to the national team.

"Players like Ronaldo, who's due to go and play the World Cup, played 45 or 50 games this season, but he's still going to the World Cup. He's only playing his last game for his club on Saturday in the Champions League."

Former Bafana defender Mark Fish says players must realise they aren't bigger than the game.

"No club is bigger than the national team, whether it's Kaizer Chiefs, Pirates or Sundowns. It doesn't matter whether they have more money than the federation, there's nothing more important than to play for your country and to represent the whole nation."

Fish says so many players withdrawing could also be a result of a lack of communication from the South African Football Association (Safa).

"A lot more should have been done. Gordon [Igesund] and his technical staff should have called the players and called the clubs to make sure that they are fit and able."

Fish says this is the chance for Igesund to use young players to plan for the future.

"Players should not be withdrawing for the sake of withdrawing or coming up with reasons because they don't feel like travelling with the national team. In saying that, I think Gordon is at fault for not selecting players that we can use for the future."