Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba has announced the squad to face Ivory Coast in the 20th edition of the Nelson Mandela Challenge that will be staged at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga. The match will be played on Sunday, 30 November. Kickoff is at 15:00.
Mashaba has selected players that he hopes will give a good account of themselves. The match on a non-FIFA Calendar date, so the overseas-based players are available. Players from Superport United and Platinum Stars have also been excluded as the two sides will be contesting the Telkom Knockout final a day befoe the match, on Saturday, 29 November at Orlando Stadium. “The Nelson Mandela Challenge fixture is one of the most important events we can venture into as human beings and the national team, and we will tackle it from a two-pronged angle. Firstly, to raise funds for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund to help those who are less fortunate than us, and we hope that people can come in numbers to aid this good cause. Secondly, we hope the players that have been selected will see us through in the future. We don’t want to bring people in as a once-off thing. We are giving them an opportunity to come and sell themselves and show us what they are made of. We have gone for players who are on the fringes at their clubs, and are not playing regularly. We can only appreciate if the clubs can help us by releasing the players we need. We are aware that the league is in full swing, and perhaps at a crucial stage for them and we hope they can assist. We really appreciate the support,” said Mashaba.
The Bafana Bafana mentor also does not want his side to lose the momentum of their recent succcess. South Africa has qualified for the CAF Africa Cup of Nations tournament that will be held in Equatorial Guinea early next year. Since Mashaba took over the reigns at Bafana Bafana in September this year, they have played six AFCON qualifiers and have not lost.
They won three and drew the rest. “Maintaining the momemtum is key, because to break it could be detrimental to the team in the sense that we are looking forward to the AFCON tournament and we have to go there with the high spirit that already exists in the team. With that in mind, we will go out there and do our best and hopefully continue with our record of not losing. We will try to score goals and keep a clean sheet for the morale booster of the team heading to Equatorial Guinea,” added Mashaba. Bafana Bafana go into camp on Thursday and are expected to travel to Mpumalanga on the same day.
Meanwhile Cote d’Ivoire head coach Herve Renard has announced a 20-man squad for the clash with South Africa. The Elephants are expected in Mbombela on Wednesday.