Dropped top S. African striker backs team for World Cup

20:04, June 02, 2010      

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South Africa's all-time leading goal scorer Benni McCarthy said on Tuesday although he was disappointed with his exclusion from the final South African squad to play in the FIFA World Cup, he was still part of the team.

McCarthy, aged 32, who has scored 32 goals for South Africa, was excluded when coach Calro Alberto Parreira on Tuesday named the 23 players who will represent South Africa as hosts in the World Cup which kicks off on June 11.

He issued a statement to the South African Press Association (SAPA) saying all the players who made the South African national call-up should be proud.

"We did not fail, we just didn't make the final 23, we are still a part of the team, if not the squad."

He said "the final squad is a tough call for any coach to make and I am sure it was not made without heartache."

He thanked the South African team's technical staff for helping him with his physical shape after recovering from a niggling knee injury. His exclusion did not come as a surprise, he said.

"No one's place in the final squad is a given."

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