Bafana Bafana head coach Shakes Mashaba has announced a squad of 27 players to play in two upcoming matches. The first clash is a 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Gambia which will be played on Saturday, 13 June at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban. The next match is an international friendly against Angola scheduled for Cape Town Stadium on Tuesday, 16 June. Both matches kick off at 15:00.
Mashaba has retained the bulk of the players that did duty in the 2015 qualifiers as well as the tournament in Equatorial Guinea earlier this year. Mashaba says: ‘This is a very important period for us in the national team as we attempt to repeat what we did in the 2015 qualifiers. We have set ourselves high standards when we qualified for the last tournament with a match to spare – and we can’t go below that. In selecting this squad, it was important to call up players who will be able to assist us now with their experience and also look at the future as to who will be with us in 2017. So we had to combine those two aspects; this is not the time to build but we have go for glory.’ The Bafana Bafana mentor is also aware that with most of the leagues around the world in recess, it might be difficult to get the players going.
He says: ‘It is a very difficult time for all of us in that regard, and unfortunately there is nothing we can do about it. With the players enjoying a break, the body tends to switch off a little. But we believe our players are professional enough, and know what is expected of them. We have sat down to work on a training programme that will get them back in full speed as soon as possible and I am confident by match day they will give us what we want. I have selected 27 players because we have back-to-back matches within a short space of time and it is important that we give other players a chance. And also, you may have seen recently in the COSAFA Cup we had four injuries, so it is important that we have enough cover as we have limited time and bearing in mind the players are in recess. We would also like to thank those players who will heed the call, and their clubs as well as the PSL for the suppport.’ The squad goes into camp on Sunday, 7 June in Johannesburg and departs for Durban on the same day where they will set up camp. Tickets are already on sale for the two matches.
For the Gambia clash they will cost R80 all round while for the Angola encounter they will go for R60 and R100. Tickets can be purchased at Computicket outlets as well as Shoprite, Shoprite/Checkers and Checkers stores countrywide.
Marc Van Heerden
Photo credit: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix