Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba has announced the starting eleven for the international friendly match against Swaziland scheduled for tonight (Wednesday, 25 March 2015) at the Somhlolo Stadium in Swaziland. Kick-off is at 19:00. Mashaba has selected a very strong starting eleven making clear his intentions of not only winning the match but also win convincingly ahead of the tougher clash against Nigeria on Sunday, 29 March at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.
Four players, who have been called up for the first time to Bafana Bafana, will be making their debut – defenders Thapelo Morena (Bloemfontein Celtic) and Daniel Cardoso (Free State Stars); midfielder Cole Alexander (Polokwane City) and striker Thabo Mnyamane (Tuks). In goals Mashaba will start with Itumeleng Khune, who makes his first start in a Bafana Bafana jersey since the CHAN tournament more than a year ago, due to injury. He will be assisted at the back by Thulani Hlatshwayo, Thabo Matlaba and debutants Morena and Cardoso.
The middle of the park will be occupied by Kamohelo Mokotjo, Alexander, Thulani Serero and Ayanda Patosi, while Mnyamane and Lehlohonolo Majoro will be the strikers. Hlatshwayo has been named captain for the match. There is still a chance for more debutants in the match as Siphelele Ntshangase (Black Leopards) and Lebogang Phiri (Brondby FC, Denmark) will start on the bench.
Mashaba said: ‘I am happy with the line-up we have put up. I have said before that we will not underestimate Swaziland. That is why we have put up a side I believe is very strong enough to give the opposition a challenge. I have also said we would like to give as many players a chance so we can see them up close and personal because we are now nearing the end of our building phase. It would be interesting to see how the combinations that we have put up will fare, but I am confident that they will do well. Also, it is important that we go into the Nigeria match with a morale-boosting win.’ As only 23 can sit on the bench as such Brilliant Khuzwayo, Thuso Phala and Oupa Manyisa will not be considered for the match.
SA XI vs Swaziland:
Itumeleng Khune (GK), Thapelo Morena, Thabo Matlaba, Thulani Hlatshwayo (c), Daniel Cardoso, Kamohelo Mokotjo, Cole Alexander, Thulani Serero, Lehlohonolo Majoro, Ayanda Patosi, Thabo Mnyamane
Subs: Jackson Mabokgwane (GK), Siyabonga Nhlapho, Sibusiso Khumalo, Rivaldo Coetzee, Andile Jali, Jabulani Shongwe, Mandla Masango, Tokelo Rantie, Sibusiso Vilakazi, Bongani Zungu, Siphelele Ntshangase, Lebogang Phiri
Photo credit: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix