Injured Shabba out, but coach brings in five newbies

2013-10-02 00:00

WORLD Cup hero and Kaizer Chiefs ace Siphiwe Tshabalala was the most notable absentee from Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund’s 23-man squad announcement yesterday for October 11’s international friendly against Morocco in Agadir City.

Tshabalala is said to be injured, though the specifics of the injury were not known yesterday, and he is also set to miss Chiefs’ Telkom Knock-out clash against Polokwane City on Saturday.

As has become routine in Igesund’s selection policy, there will be a blend of youth and experience for the Morocco clash, with five uncapped players named in the squad set for debuts.

Igesund has, once again, cast his net wide and among the five newbies are two overseas-based players in 19-year-old defender Nkosi Ntlhe (Peterborough United, England) and 20-year-old midfielder Ayanda Patosi (Lokeren, Belgium). Nthle has represented SA U20 on five occasions, while Patosi learnt his trade in Cape Town before jetting off for the bright lights of Europe.

The other three newcomers are all local players in much-hyped goalkeeper Ronwen Williams (SuperSport United), Wits midfielder Sibusiso Vilakazi and 20-year-old Ajax Cape Town midfielder Keagan Dolly.

Igesund has also stayed true to his word in not selecting any Orlando Pirates players — the Soweto giants are in the middle of a tough schedule thanks to CAF Champions League duty, and will play in the two-legged semi-finals of that competition either side of the Bafana match. Only Kermit Erasmus from Bucs features in Igesund’s makeup, as the striker was not registered to take part in the Champions League.

“We seriously had to sit down and look at Pirates’ situation. We need to support them in this campaign hence I decided to leave their players out as we don’t want to jeopardise their preparations in any way,” Igesund told SuperSport.com yesterday.

“Next year it could be Ajax Cape Town or Moroka Swallows or any other team and we will do exactly the same thing. We hope their success will rub off on the national team as it did in 1995 when Pirates won the continental title and Bafana Bafana lifted the Afcon trophy the following year.”

Turning his attention to his opponents, Igesund said that Morocco would provide the perfect preparation for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers that get under way in December.

“We are playing a very formidable team and you know North African teams are strong and will give us a stern test,” he said.

“This is a very serious match for both sides and there is some rivalry in that in our last match we drew 2-2 in the Afcon earlier this year — a match that was voted the best of the Afcon tournament.”

BAFANA SQUAD FOR MOROCCO

Goalkeepers: Itumeleng Khune (Capt.) (Kaizer Chiefs), Ronwen Williams (SuperSport United), Darren Keet (KV Kortrijk, Belgium)

Defenders: Anele Ngcongca (Racing Genk, Belgium), Thabo Nthete (Bloemfontein Celtic), Bongani Khumalo (Doncaster Rovers, England), Tsepo Masilela (Kaizer Chiefs), Buhle Mkhwanazi (Tuks), Siyanda Xulu (FC Rostov, Russia), Kgosi Nthle (Peterborough, England) Midfielders: Kamohelo Mokotjo (PEC Zwolle, Holland), Bongani Zungu (Mamelodi Sundowns), Sibusiso Vilakazi (Bidvest Wits), Ayanda Patosi (Lokeren, Belgium), Daylon Claasen (Lech Poznan, Poland), Keagan Dolly (Ajax Cape Town), Dean Furman (Doncaster Rovers, England), Kagisho Dikgacoi (Crystal Palace, England), Reneilwe Letsholonyane (Kaizer Chiefs), Lerato Chabangu (Moroka Swallows) Strikers: Tokelo Rantie (Bournemouth, England), Kermit Erasmus (Orlando Pirates), Bernard Parker (Kaizer Chiefs).

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