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Africa Cup of Nations Qualification

Boost for Bafana Bafana as Vitesse striker Van Duivenbooden nears eligibility

16:01 GMT+3 30/11/2022
Simon Van Duivenbooden, Vitesse
Safa vice-president Bennet Bailey says they are helping Vitesse forward Simon van Duivenbooden secure South African citizenship.
  • Van Duivenbooden has expressed interest to play for Bafana
  • Safa is now working on securing him an SA passport
  • The striker plays for Eredivisie side Vitesse

WHAT HAPPENED? Netherlands-born Van Duivenbooden has already applied for a South African passport and Bailey says they are engaging the Home Affairs Department to speed up the process. This comes ahead of the resumption of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in March as coach Hugo Broos looks to widen his Bafana Bafana pool of selection. The 20-year-old was born in Uithoorn and qualifies to play for Bafana due to his South African parents and he has already expressed adesire to play for South Africa.

WHAT THEY SAID: “At this moment we are busy helping two players change their citizenships,” Bailey told Sowetan Live. “The one is Simon, who’s based in the Netherlands and the other one I don’t have his details yet. With Simon, his things are in now [meaning they are being processed].

“It’s now up to the department of home affairs [to decide if they accept or decline the application]. We are also looking at having a meeting with the department itself because we want to tell them that our plan is to strengthen the pool of players who will play for Bafana.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: There has been criticism that Bafana Bafana are now made up of players who struggle to break into the big leagues in Europe. This is in contrast to the past when South Africa had players who plied their trade in the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and other top leagues. At 20, Van Duivenbooden is already an Eredivisie player and is tipped for bigger things in future.

After making two league appearances last season as a teenager, Van Duivenbooden was now starting to claim a place in the Vitesse team just before the current Fifa World Cup break. He even grabbed a stoppage-time equaliser in Vitesse’s 2-2 draw with Go Ahead Eagles in what was their last match before the World Cup recess.

WHAT NEXT FOR VAN DUIVENBOODEN? Van Duivenbooden would be hoping to continue pushing for regular game time at Vitesse when Vitesse resume their Eredivisie campaign in January 2023. More playing opportunities would enhance his national team call-up chances, given he obtains a passport before March.