By NAKAMPE LEKWADU
BAFANA Bafana coach is taking no chances in terms of preparing his charges for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations to be hosted in the country.
Mosimane’s boys kick-starts their 2012 calendar with some serious friendly international matches against strong opponents with the first one against Equatorial Guinea who are this year’s co-hosts of AFCON.
Bafana take on Equatorial Guinea in Bata, 240km from the capital Malabo this Friday as opposed Thursday as it was planned.
As part of trying a number of players who have been influential in their respective clubs ahead of next year’s competition, Mosimane has called five players in the likes of goalkeepers Darren Keet from Kortrijk in Belgium), Brilliant Khuzwayo (Thanda Royal Zulu),defenders Ayanda Gcaba (Free State Stars), Wayne Arendse (Santos) and midfielder Sibusiso Vilakazi (BidVest Wits)
The five replaces players from Orlando Pirates, Golden Arrows and Mamelodi Sundowns. The three clubs did not release their players for the aforementioned away friendly game and for two scheduled home games involving Zambia and Ghana.
All the overseas-based players will leave soon after the Equatorial Guinea encounter. Defender Anele Ngcongca has been withdrawn from the squad after his Belgian club did not grant him permission to attend camp.
Vice-captain Siphiwe Tshabalala will not be part of the squad as he is going on trials overseas.
The matches involving Zambia and Ghana will still go ahead but have now been turned into non-official practice matches.
“The South African Football Association (SAFA) was fully aware that the proposed friendly fixtures fell out of the FIFA calendar and, as a result, posed challenges with regards to player release. But as an association we are happy that we are still able to help the coach with his plans of preparing the team for AFCON 2013 and 2014 Brazil,” said Acting SAFA President Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana.
These issues were discussed at the Joint Liaison Committee Meeting, whose members comprise of SAFA and Premier Soccer League (PSL) officials where it was agreed no club would be compelled to release players.
“Therefore, we have had to call up additional players to fill the gap created by the non-availability of some players. It is a blow not to have some of our regular players but this will give others an opportunity to prove their mettle,” said coach Mosimane.
The squad is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Darren Keet (KV Kortrijk,Belgium), Brilliant Khuzwayo (Thanda Royal Zulu)
Defenders: Siboniso Gaxa (Lierse FC,Belgium), Morgan Gould (SuperSport United), Ayanda Gcaba (Free State Stars), Eric Mathoho (Bloemfontein Celtic), Nazeer Alie (Ajax Cape Town), Wayne Arendse (Santos, Belgium), Rudiger Gilbert (Free State Stars),Patrick Phungwayo (Wits)
Midfielders: Daylon Claasen (Lierse FC, Belgium), Reneilwe Letsholonyane (Kaizer Chiefs), George Maluleka (Ajax), Sibusiso Vikakazi (Wits)May Mahlangu (Helsingborg,Sweeden), Granwald Scott (Ajax), Mziyakise Mashaba (Free State Stars), George Lebese (Kaizer Chiefs)
Strikers: Lehlohonolo Majoro (Kaizer Chiefs), Bradley Grobler (Coztepe,Turkey), Siyabonga Notshinga (Jomo Cosmos)and Ryan Chapman (Bidvest Wits).