Bafana Bafana To Make Due

Twenty-four Bafana Bafana players have reported for national team duty ahead of the two friendly international matches against Swaziland and Nigeria.  South Africa faces neighbours Swaziland on Wednesday at the Somhlolo Stadium, kicking off at 19:00, and four days later (Sunday, 29 March) will welcome Nigeria at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.  Kick-off is at 15:30.

The players assembled for camp on Sunday, 22 March and will conduct their first training session in Johannesburg on Monday afternoon (23 March).  The team was expected to depart for Swaziland today but have had to postpone their travel to Tuesday (24 March) due to some players only expected to arrive tonight – Denmark-based Lebogang Phiri as well as Netherlands-based Thulani Serero and Kamohelo Mokotjo.  The squad will however be without two injured players – midfielder May Mahlangu and defender Anele Ngcongca.

Mahlangu is recovering in South Africa and reported for camp on Sunday where he was checked by the team medico, Dr Thulani Ngwenya and has since been released from camp due to a fractured foot bone.  Ngcongca’s club has informed Bafana Bafana that the player is suffering from an Achilles tendon and will not be able to honour the national team call-up.  Ngwenya has spoken to their medical team and club will forward the scan results for the team doctor to peruse.

Doncaster Rovers FC, where midfielder Dean Furman plies his trade in England, has requested that he be excused from the matches as they have a tight schedule of matches.  The club is in League One, and is thus not included in the FIFA Calendar, but will only get a postponement if three or more players are called for national team duties – which is not the case this time – only Dean has been called up from his club.  Bafana Bafana head coach Shakes Mashaba said:  ‘We have called up 30 players and have covered every position, so we will not replace any of those who are unable to come to camp.  I think it is also a blessing in disguise in that we will be able to test out the players we have called-up – for instance Dean has been playing with Andile in the middle of the park, so it would be great to see who else could fill in that role.  To be frank we would have loved to have all players available but seeing it is not possible we have to move on.  Also on the question of Dean, we have accepted the request because we want to build relations with these clubs.  It is important that when they have a request like this we should consider it favourably because in future we will be the ones needing to make a request to these clubs.”

Bafana Bafana squad:

1. Jackson Mabokgwane 
2. Itumeleng Khune
3. Brilliant Khuzwayo
4. Anele Ngcongca (Injured)
5. Siyabonga Nhlapho
6. Thabo Matlaba 
7. Thapelo Morena
8. Erick Mathoho
9. Rivaldo Coetzee
10. Thulani Hlatshwayo
11. Sibusiso Khumalo
12. Daniel Cardoso
13. Lebogang Phiri (Arriving Monday night)
14. Oupa Manyisa (pictured)
15. Andile Jali
16. Dean Furman (Not travelling)
17. Mandla Masango
18. Cole Alexander
19. Thuso Phala
20. Jabulani Shongwe
21. May Mahlangu (Injured)
22. Thulani Serero
23. Ayanda Patosi
24. Bongani Zungu
25. Kamohelo Mokotjo
26. Tokelo Rantie
27. Sibusiso Vilakazi
28. Thabo Mnyamane
29. Lehlohonolo Majoro
30. Siphelele Ntshangase

Photo credit: AFP PHOTO / CARL DE SOUZA