BAFANA Bafana head coach Gordon Igesund has named a 24-man squad to face Zambia in the Nelson Mandela Challenge on November 14.
The clash will take place at Soccer City.
The two teams clashed in the inaugural Nelson Mandela Challenge back in 1994 and the ‘return’ clash next week promises fireworks. The visitors lost that epic encounter at Ellis Park 2-1.
This annual tournament has a lot of CSI feel to it; the South African Football Association (SAFA) will donate a huge portion of the proceeds to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.
In his fifth game in charge of the national team, coach Gordon Igesund has made eight changes to the squad that travelled to Poland and Kenya last month, with seven of the players selected based overseas.
Itumeleng Khune retains his place in goals and is joined by Darren Keet of KV Kortrijk (Belgium) as the only two goalkeepers in the squad.
In defence, another Belgium-based player Anele Ngcongca returns to the squad for the first time under Igesund after recovering from injuries.
Also back in the squad after a long absence are Thanduyise Khuboni (Lamontville Golden Arrows), Thuso Phala (Platinum Stars), Kermit Erasmus (Supersport United) and Katlego Mashego of Moroka Swallows.
“This is probably the last chance for a lot of players, especially the overseas-based players to impress because we don’t have a FIFA date anymore between now and the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations tournament. I am happy with the progress we are making and the squad is taking shape nicely; a number of players and clubs are showing passion towards the national cause and this is giving me a good ‘headache’,” said Igesund.
“I now have most of the squad I need for the tournament, but I am left with about 20 percent with the likes of Thulani Serero, Siboniso Gaxa, Daylon Claasen, Benni McCarthy, Davide Somma and Morgan Gould, to mention but a few, still to fight for the remaining places. The truth is they have a lot of work to do because they need to show me that not only have they fully recovered from their injuries and are fit, but also that they are playing regularly for their clubs.”
Igesund will have Serame Letsoaka as his only assistant following the passing away of Thomas Madigage last month.
“I believe Serame and I have what it takes to take this team forward. For the moment we won’t be replacing Tommy and I don’t think there is a need to find a replacement,” said the Bafana Bafana head coach.
Bafana Bafana will assemble for camp on Sunday, 11 November 2012 at the Southern Sun Monte Casino Hotel in Fourways.
On November 12 and they will have a gym training session, and the next day will travel to Soccer City to have final preparations
The Squad: Khune, Keet, Fransman, Nthete, Sangweni, Ngcongca, Masenamela, Phala, Khumalo, Nunes, Manyisa, Yeye, Shaba, Chabangu, Modise, Buckley, Myeni, Dikgacoi, Furman, Khuboni, Parker, Mashego (Swa), Rantie and Erasmus.