Don’t get emotional over Egypt, says Pitso

2011-03-16 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — Bafana Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane has admitted he had no choice but to drop Aaron Mokoena from his squad to face Egypt in a vital African Nations Cup qualifier at Ellis Park on March 26.

The absence of the Portsmouth central defender, who has earned 104 caps since making his national debut in 1998, was the major shock at yesterday’s squad announcement.

But with “Mbazo” not having started any of his club’s last seven matches in the English Championship, Mosimane believes the time has come to look to the future.

“We will need all our experienced players for a big match like this, but we also need to move forward,” he said. “I love and respect Aaron … but please allow me to select the team. He has given us his best as the captain but this time he is not in the team …”

Bafana go into the match at the top of Group G and with a great chance to move six points clear of the Pharaohs with a victory, although the coach is under no illusions about the challenge ahead.

“There has been a lot of talk about Egypt and whether they will be ready, but we are playing one of the most experienced teams around and the three-time champions of Africa,” he said.

“Everything is stable there now and I have told my players to start focusing on the match and not even think about other factors. I believe this is a match where we need all our senior players to take the leadership.

“We don’t need to get emotional about this game. It is only the third in the group and there are plenty of matches to follow.”

Bafana squad:

Goalkeepers: Itumeleng Khune Wayne Sandilands, Darren Keet.

Defenders: Siboniso Gaxa, Morgan Gould, Anele Ngcongca, Siyabonga Sangweni, Mzivukile Tom, Bongani Khumalo, Rueben Cloete.

Midfielders: Siphiwe Tshabalala, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Sifiso Myeni, Thanduyise Khuboni, Steven Pienaar, Andile Jali, Tlou Segolela, Daylon Claasen, Kagisho Dikgacoi, Thulani Serero.

Strikers: Davide Somma, Bernard Parker, Kermit Erasmus, Katlego Mphela.

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