Bafana Bafana Squad Announced For Cameroon

Bafana Bafana head coach Shakes Mashaba has named a 25-man squad that will take on Cameroon in crucial back-to-back 2017 Gabon Orange Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.  South Africa and the Indomitable Lions first meet on Saturday, 26 March 2016 at Stade Omnisport de Limbe in Limbe, Cameroon.  Kick-off for that clash is at 15:30 local time (16:30 South African time).

The two nations will then take their battle to Durban for the second leg which will be played three days laterTuesday, 29 March 2016 – at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban which kicks off at 19:00.  The return leg marks a very important occasion for both countries as it was 24 years ago when the two nations first clashed in a match to mark South Africa’s readmission into the international fold.  Bafana Bafana won the international friendly match 1-0 through a Doctor Khumalo penalty in the 82nd minute at the Kings Park Rugby Stadium in Durban.

In seven matches, South Africa has only lost once to Cameroon with three wins and three draws – the 2-1 loss coming in their second meeting back in 1992 in Cape Town.  Mashaba has a mammoth task to get South Africa’s campaign back on the road after his charges managed just one point from two matches.  The coach says:  ‘These two matches are almost a make-or-break for us.  If we want to resurrect our campaign, these are the matches that we will have to do well in.  I have heard people talking about must-win matches – and these are the ones.  We have only one point and they have six – and to add salt to the wound, some of our key players are not active in their clubs, have lost form, are out injured or have just returned from injury.  But that is no excuse, the show must go on – we have to put up a fight as though our lives depend on these matches.  I believe we have selected a strong team that will deliver.’  Bafana Bafana last played a competitive match in November last year when they defeated Angola in back to back 2018 Russia FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

The Bafana Bafana boss says:  ‘Unfortunately because of the non-availability of a FIFA date, we have not been able to prepare as thoroughly as we would have liked but lack of enough time to prepare should not blind from our mission, even though they have an edge over us as most of their players, if not all, ply their trade abroad and have been very active.  I just hope the players are aware of what is at stake because these are no ordinary matches.  Negative results will see us not active on the international scene for a long time, and if that is not motivation enough for boys to do well, then nothing will be.  There are 12 points on offer and it’s up to us what we do with them.  The reality is that it is still in our hands.’  The South Africans assemble for camp on Sunday, 20 March and expected to depart for Limbe on Wednesday, 23 March.  Mashaba’s men are in Group M of the AFCON qualifiers with Cameroon, Gambia and Mauritania.

The Indomitable Lions lead the group with six points, three ahead of Mauritania.  Bafana Bafana and Gambia on one point each.

BAFANA BAFANA SQUAD LIST 2017 AFCON QUALIFIERS vs CAMEROON

                                                    GOALKEEPERS:

1. Itumeleng KHUNE                                                                     
2. Jackson MABOKGWANE                                                          
3. Darren KEET                                                                               
                                                     DEFENDERS:

4. Siyabonga NHLAPO                                                                    
5. Asavela MBEKILE                                                                       
6. Anele NGCONGCA                                                                      
7. Thabo MATLABA                                                                         
8. Cheslyn JAMPIES                                                                          
9. Erick MATHOHO                                                                           
10. Sifiso HLANTI                                                                              
11. Rivaldo COETZEE                                                                        
12. Thulani HLATSHWAYO                                                               
                                                         MIDFIELDERS:

13. Andile JALI                                                                                    
14. Kamohelo MOKOTJO                                                                     
15. Thulani SERERO                                                                             
16. Themba ZWANE                                                                               
17. William TWALA                                                                                
18. Jabulani SHONGWE                                                                          
19. Mpho MAKOLA                                                                                 
20. Mandla MASANGO                                                                            
21. Hlompho KEKANA                                                                             
                                                              STRIKERS:

22. Thamsanqa GABUZA                                                                           
23. Prince NXUMALO                                                                                
24. Tokelo RANTIE                                                                                     
25. Dino NDLOVU                                                                                      

Photo credit: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix