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National Under-23's preparations going smoothly

By FOCUS REPORTER

THE South African National Under 23 side is on its third day of training in camp. The youngsters have been put through their paces by head coach Shakes Mashaba ahead of the important All Africa Games return leg qualifier against Angola. The match will be played at the Sinaba Stadium in Daveyton on Sunday, February 20. Kick off for the clash is 3pm.

Mashaba has had a frustrating time having to change players with every match; to make compound the challenge, on Wednesday striker Siphamandla Sangweni of Africa Stars Academy was withdrawn from the squad due to an ankle injury. Sangweni played a pivotal role when the South Africans defeated Angola 4-1 in the first leg first round match played in Angola on Friday, 11 February 2011.

“I think in the last 14 matches we have played I have never had the same team for every match, it’s always a different squad. The challenge is that we always start afresh and introduce our philosophy with every camp, but unfortunately there is not enough time to do all that. In some positions we have made at least four changes, but we will keep on fighting until we get it right,” said Mashaba.

The squad has been boosted by the arrival of Thulani Hlatshwayo of Ajax, who is on suspension at his club, as well as Brilliant Khuzwayo, a goalkeeper from Amazulu.

“We are very fortunate and somewhat relieved that we have Thulani. He is an experienced player and will come in handy on Sunday. It is some kind of blessing that he was suspended at this club and he is able to play for us when we really needed players. The good thing is that he will not lose match fitness and when he returns to his playing for Ajax he will be ready for action. And with most players involved in their clubs this coming weekend I don’t expect any more to come. But the bottom line is we have managed to put a team together, so we must just forget about who’s not here and concentrate on the players that are here. Let’s do with what we have and make the best out of the situation. This is also a chance for these players in camp to raise their hands and show what they are capable of,” said the coach.

Mashaba added that he has drilled it into his players that the 4-1 first leg result is history, and the second leg is a completely new match altogether.

“The pressure is on us as the home team because of our lead and playing in front of our fans. We are expected to score more than the four goals we scored in Angola. I don’t expect my players to be complacent but in the game of football you must always remember that a team that is trailing normally plays better football than the team that is in the lead, so some people may think my players are being complacent. I keep telling my players that if we were able to score the four goals in Angola, the visitors can come and do the same here, so we must just be alert at all times,” added Mashaba.

Mashaba is now left with 18 players that he needs for the match following the recall of Katlego Pule to Bidvest Wits on today (Thursday, February 17.

 

 

 

 

Here is the full squad:

 

 

 

NO.

PLAYER’S NAME

CLUB

 

 

 

GOALKEEPERS

 

 

 

1

Boalefa Pula

North West University

2

Brilliant Khuzwayo

Amazulu

 

 

 

DEFENDERS

 

 

 

3

Enrico Adolph

Bidvest Wits University

4

Thulani Hlatshwayo

Ajax Cape Town

5

Mthetheleli Sibusiso Mxoyana

Orlando Pirates

6

Wandisile Letlabika

Puk Tawana

7

Doctor Mampuru

Puk Tawana

 

 

 

MIDFIELDERS

 

 

 

8

Lwazi Skhosana

Moroka Swallows

9

Nhlakanipho Phungula

Moroka Swallows

10

Bongani Theletsane

Jomo Cosmos

11

Themba Zwane

Mamelodi Sundowns

12

Christopher Flandorp

Bidvest Wits

13

Mongezi Hlabate

Bidvest Wits

14

Masibusane Zongo

Vasco Da Gama

 

 

 

 

STRIKERS

 

 

 

15

Riaan Eugene

Santos

16

Phumelele Ace Bhengu

Bay United

17

Vivian Lefunyana Motloung

Pimvile Young Stars

18

Letsie Koapeng

Bidvest Wits

 

 

 

 

 

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