BAFANA Bafana head coach Gordon Igesund has announced a 23-man squad
to face the Central African Republic (CAR) in a 2014 FIFA World Cup
South Africa resumes the “Road to Brazil” campaign with a crunch
match against the Central African opponents that will be played on
Saturday, March 23 at the Cape Town Stadium. Kick-off 8.15pm.
“This is a huge match for us. We are in a position where we should
not be because I believe at this stage of the competition we should
have been top of the Group. We need to win this one to keep ourselves
in the race; that is why I have gone for a very offensive team.
Hopefully, we can resume this campaign on a good note. There is no
room for errors,” said Igesund.
The Bafana Bafana mentor has made five changes to the squad that
played in the AFCON 2013 tournament, with defenders Siboniso Gaxa and
captain Bongani Khumalo making way for Russia-based Siyanda Xulu and
Morgan Gould of Kaizer Chiefs.
Belgium-based Daylon Claasen makes a return after a long lay-off and
is joined in the squad by Dino Ndlovu who plays in Israel and Daine
Klate of Orlando Pirates. Thulani Serero, Katlego Mphela and the
injured Lehlohonolo Majoro have also failed to make the cut.
“As you can see, I did not make too many changes because I believe
in continuity. We need to continue from where we left off in the Afcon
tournament. I still believe we have a good chance of qualifying for
Brazil in 2014, provided we win our upcoming match and go and do well
in the two away matches,” added Igesund.
The coach has also included a 24th player in the squad, Supersport
United goalkeeper Ronwen Williams to join the team during camp to
learn. The 21-year-old will not be selected to play against CAR.
“I think it is very important for us to start identifying the
younger players that will be the stars of 2018 World Cup, so it’s
crucial that I take this opportunity to call up one or two of these
youngsters to join the national team on a regular basis to be part of
the set-up, to feel the environment, get used to the situation and
slowly introduce them to the action,” said the coach.
“Ronwen has been playing very well, he is still a youngster though,
but if you bring him into the national team fold and he will gain
invaluable experience. There are other several youngsters who I am
looking at and will also be invited to Bafana Bafana just for them to
get used to the set-up and for me and my technical team to have a
closer look at them. Come 2018 at least 20 players in the squad must
come from our junior national teams – U-17, U-20 and U-23 – so the
philosophy is the same. We need not lose out on our talent.”
After two rounds of matches, Bafana Bafana are in third place in Group
A of the qualifiers following draws against Ethiopia and Botswana in
South Africa is in Group A in the qualifying matches against Botswana, Central African Republic and Ethiopia.
The announced team is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Itumeleng Khune, Tshepo Masilela (both from Kaizer Chiefs FC), Wayned Sandilands ( Mamelodi Sundowns), Senzo Meyiwa (Orlando Pirates)
Defenders: Morgan Gould (Chiefs), Siyabonga Sangweni, Thabo Matlaba (both from Pirates), Thabo Nthete (Bloemfontein Celtic), Anele Ngcongca (Racing Genk FC, (Belgium), Siyanda Xulu (Rostov FC, Russia)
Midfielders: Kagisho Dikgacoi (Crystal Palace FC, England), Dean Furman (Oldham Athletic FC, England), Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Siphiwe Tshabalala (both from Chiefs), Oupa Manyisa, Daine Klate (both from Pirates), May Mahlangu (Helsingborg IF, Sweden), Daylon Claasen (Lierse FC, Belgium), Lerato Chabangu (Moroka Swallows FC), Thuso Phala (Platinum Stars FC), r Chiefs FC (SA)
Strikers: Bernard Parker (Chiefs), Dino Ndlovu (Maccabi Haifa,Israel) and Tokelo Rantie (Malmo FF, Sweden)