Josephs wants a second chance
It is not an issue of lack of talent nor scarcity of candidates, but rather the abundance of both - the kind of headache that any coach would relish. And with the No1 jersey still very much up for grabs, Moeneeb Josephs, the charismatic Orlando Pirates goalkeeper, has claimed he is still the best man for the job.
What Josephs is essentially asking for is a second chance. The scars left by South Africa's dismal campaign at last year's CAF Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana, when he was in goal, have now healed. It's now time to open a new chapter and begin what Josephs calls his "redemption route".
"I want to reclaim the No1 jersey and I'm aware that in order to do that, I will need to focus again and redouble my efforts," he told FIFA.com. "I can't dwell on the past, I have to look to he future."
Since former Ajax Amsterdam goalkeeper Hans Vonk relinquished the No1 jersey when he announced his retirement from international football, Joel Santana has been to experiment with a clutch of potential successors. German-based Rowen Fernandez, who plays for Arminia Bielefeld, had been the ordained first choice until a string of high-profile errors between the posts forcing the coaching staff to ponder an alternative.
Then there is Kaizer Chief's rising star, Itumeleng Khune, whose first season in top flight football in the 2007/08 season made him an instant superstar in South African football. Khune was also given a shot, but his lack of experience at international level appeared to be exposed as he too committed some basic and costly errors for Bafana Bafana. Finally there is Josephs, who is waiting on the wings for a second chance.
"All these guys are quality keepers, they are very good," Josephs said. "But that is good for me and it's good for Orlando Pirates because that means that I will have to work extra harder to be one step ahead of them. Rowen has lots of experience and Khune has been a marvel to watch. For me, it's a privilege to be competing against these guys. There is nothing wrong with competition, it helps one grow and that is why I think this will benefit my career."
Consistency, he admits, has been a problem. But true to his optimistic nature, he is in no doubt that can be overcome. Josephs started his career with the then Cape Town Spurs and was part of the subsequent merger of Seven Stars and Spurs to form Ajax Cape Town. He left Ajax two seasons ago to team up with Wits University, a club coached by one of the finest former goalkeepers in South Africa, Roger de Sa.
Although he only stayed for a season before joining Orlando Pirates for what had been reported as a record transfer fee for a goalkeeper in South Africa, the months spent with De Sa rank among the most profitable period of his life. It is that period, he insists, that provided him with a mirror for a proper assessment of his game and prompted instant changes.
For now though, his primary focus is to make his country proud. He said: "I can't think of a better prize for a footballer than to play on his home soil in a World Cup against some of the biggest stars in the game. That is my goal."