Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Somma-time is on the horizon

Things haven't exactly gone to plan for Bafana Bafana since Davide Somma was dealt the cruellest of blows in pre-season training back in July.

An anterior cruciate ligament injury sustained three weeks before the opening Champonship fixture has kept the Leeds United striker on the sidelines ever since, while his country spectacularly failed to the reach the African Nations Cup finals. So this week's news that Somma has started light training is most welcome for both Bafana and Leeds fans everywhere.

After a stuttering start, Simon Grayson's side have moved into the Championship's top six as they seek a return to the top flight for the first time since 2004. Somma scored 11 league goals last season - several after coming on as a sub - and that looks likely to be his role again when he finally makes his return with Ross McCormack, Lucciano Becchio, Mikael Forssell and Andy Keogh also at the club.

Yet his proven goalscoring ability could give Leeds a real edge during the final months of the season and how Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane would love to have another striker to call on when South Africa begin their 2014 World Cup qualification campaign next year.

The 0-0 draw with Sierra Leone that confirmed they would miss the African Nations Cup finals for the second time in succession illustrated a pitiful lack of attacking options. Who knows if things may have been different if Somma had been on the bench?

But that's not to say that the jury isn't still out on the player who left his country of birth as a five-year-old. A debut international goal after only 64 seconds of his second cap against Kenya earlier this year promised much but a lack of appearances for his club meant he has yet to really establish himself in the squad.

The way things are going in South Africa, it might not be long until he's back in the fold. The contenders to provide back-up to number one striker Katlego Mphela have hardly covered themselves in glory, with Bernard Parker having scored just once for Kaizer Chiefs this season.

Even Mphela - with 22 international goals to his name - was subjected to booing in last month's friendly against Ivory Coast so Somma's availability will help take the pressure off his shoulders slightly. That will have to wait for now though as he continues to rehabilitate from a very serious injury that can take up to a year to heal fully.

But the prospect of firing Leeds into the Premier League and helping Bafana make it to Brazil in 2014 give him plenty of reasons to be cheerful after a depressing six months.       

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