BAFANA Bafana coach Gordon Igesund revealed his strategic hand when he announced the 23 man squad that will play Spain in Johannesburg on November 19.
Keenly aware of the need to rebuild Bafana Bafana into Africa’s top team, he said that the squad he has chosen for Spain is an indication of his thinking going forward. “Look at the team and you will see the type of players we are looking for going forward to the 2015 and 2017 AFCON tournaments in
Morocco and Libya respectively, as well as the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia,” said Igesund.
The team is a mix of youth and experience and very much focused on his mandate to build a competitive squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Nine of the players are at international clubs.
The list of overseas players includes defenders Bongani Khumalo (Doncaster Rovers) and Siyanda Xulu (FC Rostov), midfielders Dean Furman (Doncaster Rovers), Kagisho Dikgacoi (Crystal Palace), Daylon Claasen (Lech Poznan), Ayanda Patosi (Lokeren) and Kamohelo Mokotjo (FC Zwolle) and forward Tokelo
The team also includes Bafana playmaker Siphiwe Tshabalala, who scored the opening goal of the 2010 FIFA World Cup against Mexico, and is known for his deadly accurate free kicks.
Add Bafana captain and goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune’s excellent distribution and athletic shot-stopping abilities, Kagisho Dikgacoi’s robust tackling and decimation of the opponent’s midfield and rising star Kermit Erasmus who has been lighting up the ABSA Premiership with his goal-scoring prowess and you
have all the makings of a world-class showdown.
“You have to get the balance right and it hasn’t been easy because there have been some ambassadors of this country over the last few years who are now slowly coming to the end of their international careers, making way for up and coming youngsters,” said Igesund. “They have played a huge role and
will still do so for a while because we cannot just throw in the youngsters – they need guidance from these experienced players. I am also happy that these youngsters are gradually coming through.”
The Bafana Bafana mentor added that they are excited, as is the entire country, that they landed an opponent of Spain’s calibre.
“There is no doubt in my mind that they are best team in the world and it’s always a great pleasure and thrill to play against the best. Spain are the reigning World and European Champions, for us to be playing them is a great boost for the country and I am confident that our team be competitive on the night,” added Igesund. The squad enters training camp on November 16.
Tickets for the match are on sale at Computicket, Shoprite, Checkers and Shoprite/Checkers stores countrywide.
Tickets cost R50 for the top tier; R200 for the middle tier and R100 for the bottom tier. There are also suite ticket packages available for R895 and R1650.
Bafana squad to face Spain:
Goalkeepers: Itumeleng KHUNE (Kaizer Chiefs), Senzo MEYIWA (Orlando Pirates)
Defenders: Thabo NTHETE (Bloemfontein Celtic), Bongani KHUMALO (Doncaster Rovers), Buhle MKHWANAZI (Tuks), Siyanda XULU (FC Rostov), Anele NGCONGCA (Racing Genk), Tsepo MASILELA (Chiefs), Thabo MATLABA (Pirates)
Midfielders: Dean FURMAN (Doncaster Rovers), Kagisho DIKGACOI (Crystal Palace), Andile JALI (Pirates), Daylon CLAASEN (Lech Poznan FC), Kamohelo MOKOTJO (PEC Zwolle), Bongani ZUNGU (Mamelodi Sundowns), Oupa MANYISA (Pirates), Ayanda PATOSI (Lokeren FC), Lerato CHABANGU (Moroka Swallows), Siphiwe Tshabala (Chiefs), Sibusiso VILAKAZI (Bidvest Wits)
Strikers: Bernard PARKER (Chiefs), Tokelo RANTIE (Bournemouth) and Kermit ERASMUS (Pirates)