Underwhelming the masses
When I saw the United States squad for the trip to South Africa, I was left thoroughly underwhelmed and extremely disappointed.
This match has all the makings of a cracker. Two sides with exciting players pitting their wits at one of the most scenic stadiums in world football.
However, the public will witness essentially a reserve side take on the World Cup hosts - with many less than impressed after forking out hard-earned cash.
For me, it is a slap in the face for both Bafana Bafana and Cape Town football lovers.
This encounter would have been earmarked by Pitso Mosimane as a real test for his charges as they look to qualify for the next edition of the African Cup of Nations. The likes of Landon Donovan, who has the 'excuse' of local play-offs clashing with this match, would have really stretched his defence, while Clint Dempsey would have challenged his ever-improving midfield. Now, the former Bafana Bafana assistant coach will have to settle for unknown quantities in Teal Bunbury and Alejandro Bedoya.
It is even worse for the Cape Town public, as they have been waiting for a very long time to witness Bafana Bafana in action, too long in fact - but that is a discussion for another day. Now they will see their beloved team in action against a bunch of second-stringers who would not feature at all had the regulars decided to travel south.
You can put coach Bob Bradley's squad down to experimentation, but for no senior players to be in the squad bar one or two, it really is quite pathetic. No Tim Howard. No Oguchi Onyewu. No Carlos Bocanegra. No Steve Cherundolo. No Jay DeMerit. No Dempsey. No Maurice Edu. No Michael Bradley. No Donovan. No DaMarcus Beasley. No Stuart Holden. No Jozy Altidore. No Edson Buddle. No Eddie Johnson. Shocking!
Mosimane is also experimenting somewhat with his squad, but the core of the team is still there, except for those who are injured or dealing with personal issues. Steven Pienaar is even coming out - the one player I thought would not have been required.
Maybe the USA do not feel this match is of any real importance and have just sent out a group of 'unknowns' in order to make up the numbers. I hope this is not the case, but it would not surprise me. Bradley's quotes about experimenting seem genuine on the surface, but I have heard enough excuses in my time to be skeptical. That would be the ultimate insult to Bafana Bafana, as the national team are finally making strides in the right direction and I can remember a team who were in a similar position not more that 12 years ago.
I am really disappointed in the USA and Bradley. The shine has definitely been taken off this match and will put a damper on what is usually a great event, the Nelson Mandela Challenge.
Those who have stumped up R100 for the encounter (I am one of those) have been robbed of seeing a real belter of a match and instead will have to settle for the dull certainty of an experimental affair.