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Mamelodi Sundowns' Sirino can add value to Bafana Bafana

09:00 EAT 06/01/2023
Gaston Sirino Mamelodi Sundowns.
The Masandawana attacker has been in South Africa for five years now and therefore qualifies for citizenship in this country

Now eligible to play for Bafana Bafana, Mamelodi Sundowns' Uruguay forward Gaston Sirino should come in for serious consideration by Safa and national team head coach Hugo Broos.

There will be those who argue that South African football has enough of its own talent and those born in this country should be nurtured and given the opportunity to play for Bafana.

But when one looks at world football, there are many examples of national sides being significantly boosted by players not born in the country. Be it players who followed their parents to a new country at a young age, or those who become naturalized when already an adult, the football world is far more dynamic than it was 20 years ago.

The thing is, if Bafana Bafana were flying high, qualifying for major tournaments and doing well, beating some of the best teams on the continent and in the world, then one could argue that we don't need 'foreigners' like Sirino.

But after decades of underachievement, we should probably be taking any bit of help we can get.

South American edge

South Americans tend to be feisty footballers and Sirino is no exception - he's a fiery, competitive individual on the field.

It's that edge, and the confident, almost arrogant way in which he plays, which should make Sirino comfortable with competing, and indeed an asset, at national team level.

And in a Bafana side struggling to find reliable goal-scorers, the Uruguayan brings with him an impressive record of goals and assists down the years; he makes things happen and has the finishing prowess to win matches. In 162 matches for Downs, he’s scored 36 goals and added 39 assists.

On the biggest stages when the stakes are high, Sirino is the kind of player a team can turn to, he's not one to hide or buckle under pressure.
His drive and determination to win make him a leader by example and in a fairly inexperienced Bafana side lacking in big characters, that would be a big plus.

At his age and with his experience for Sundowns in the Caf Champions League, it's likely he would do well on the international stage.

And by now he understands well the South African football culture and has the same kind of skill and sublime touch which many players in this country possess; he would fit into the Bafana fold well, like he has for Masandawana down the years.