BAFANA Bafana head coach Ephraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba has announced his 25-man squad to face Senegal in the second match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia qualifiers.
The clash is scheduled to take place on Saturday, 12 November 2016 at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane.
Kickoff is at 3pm.
Mashaba has reshuffled his squad ahead of this crucial encounter, making eight changes to the team that drew 1-1 with Burkina Faso earlier this month (Saturday, 8 October) in Ouagadougou.
The Bafana Bafana mentor included Dutch-born South African striker Lars Verswijk who plies his trade in Belgium for KV Kortrijk.
Born in August 1991,Veldwijk started his career with FC Volendam in his country of birth, then moved to FC Utrecht. He was also been on the books of FC Dordrecht and Excelsior before signing for Nottingham Forest in England. He returned back home on loan to PEC Zwolle before registering for KV Kortrijk.
After a long absence from the national team, Mashaba has recalled goalkeeper Ronwen Williams, defender Asavela Mbekile, midfielders May Mahlangu and Daine Klate, as well as forwards Thuso Phala and Bradley Grobler.
He also welcomes back Andile Jali and Clayton Daniels, who missed the last qualifier due to injury.
The Bafana Bafana mentor says winning home games is key in these qualifiers.
“We went to Burkina Faso and came back with a point – even though I feel we could have won it – but now that we are playing at home, no other result than a win will do. The most important way to keep your chances alive in the qualifiers is to win all your home games; you do that, half way the job is done,” said Mashaba.
“Mamelodi Sundowns is a good example. Today they are the kings of Africa because they made sure they gather three points at home, and then strive to win away, if not just get a point. Just one loss could set us back in a very big way.”
Burkina Faso will face Cape Verde in the other Group D match, and Mashaba is well aware that a win for his charges could see them go top of the table going into the long Festive Season. Currently Senegal lead the standings first following their 2-0 victory over Cape Verde.
“A win is very crucial because it will see us at the top of the group this early and everything will be in our hands going forward. The challenge with losing points is that you play catch up, which puts you under a lot of pressure and before you know it, the qualifiers are finished.
So it is important that we wrestle the leadership now so that we are in a commanding place going into the halfway stage next year,” added the Bafana Bafana mentor.
Mashaba was the first South African coach to face Senegal back in 2002 and has since met them on three occasions.
He drew one match, lost the other and beat them 1-0 in the last clash between the two nations in the 2015 Edition of the Nelson Mandela Challenge.
Bafana Bafana go into camp on Sunday, 6 November 2
016 in Johannesburg.
They will depart for Polokwane the next morning (Monday, 7 November) where all the preparations for the match will be done.
The squad is expected to train at the old Peter Mokaba Stadium on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, while on Friday they will move to the match venue.
Tickets for this match are on already on sale at Computicket, Shoprite, Checkers and are available for R60,00 all round.-www.safa.net
BAFANA BAFANA SQUAD TO FACE SENEGAL
|Ronwen WILLIAMS||Supersport United FC|
|Itumeleng KHUNE||Kaizer Chief FC|
|Brighton MHLONGO||Orlando Pirates FC|
|Ramahlwe MPHAHLELE||Kaizer Chiefs FC|
|Rivaldo COETZEE||Ajax Cape Town FC|
|Thulani HLATSHWAYO||Bidvest Wits FC|
|Clayton DANIELS||Supersport United FC|
|Asavela MBEKILE||Mamelodi Sundowns FC|
|Tebogo LANGERMAN||Mamelodi Sundowns FC|
|Eric MATHOHO||Kaizer Chiefs FC|
|Thabo MATLABA||Orlando Pirates FC|
|Dean FURMAN||Supersport United FC|
|Andle JALI||KV Oostende FC|
|MAY MAHLANGU||Dinamo Bucaresti FC|
|Ayanda PATOSI||Lokeren FC (Belgium)|
|Keagan DOLLY||Mamelodi Sundowns FC|
|Daine KLATE||Bidvest Wits FC|
|Mpho MAKOLA||Orlando Pirates FC|
|Hlompho KEKANA||Mamelodi Sundowns FC|
|Eleazar RODGERS||Bidvest Wits FC|
|Bradley GROBLER||Supersport United FC|
|Lars VELDWIJK||KV Kortrjk (Belgium)|
|Sibusiso VILAKAZI||Mamelodi Sundowns FC|
|Thulani SERERO||Ajax Amsterdam (Holland)|
|Thuso PHALA||Supersport United FC|