Jali back to honour Madiba

2013-08-07 00:00

BAFANA Bafana coach Gordon Igesund yesterday named a familiar 28-man squad for the two upcoming friendlies against Nigeria (August 14, Durban) and Burkina Faso (August 17, Soweto) at a conference held at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

The two friendlies will be played in honour of former president Nelson Mandela, but they will also provide Igesund with an opportunity to iron out any creases in his outfit ahead of next month’s crucial 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifier against Botswana — also at Moses Mabhida — on September 7.

Bafana need to win that match to stand any chance of taking part in Brazil 2014, and Igesund will also need Ethiopia to slip up against the Central African Republic in Group A’s final round of qualifying fixtures.

Orlando Pirates midfielder Andile Jali returns to the squad, while Bongani Zungu (Mamelodi Sundowns) and Luyolo Nomandela (Free State Stars) are the only uncapped players to be called up.

Jali has shown good form for Pirates in the early stages of this season, especially in their 3-0 Caf Champions League win over Al Ahly in Egypt on Sunday, and Igesund has welcomed back the midfielder with open arms.

“I think two years ago his form was excellent, but he took a bit of a dip after that,” the coach told the media yesterday.

“But he has been outstanding this season so far and what has pleased me most has been his attitude.

“It is almost like he has had a point to prove. He deserves to be called up.”

The six Pirates players in the squad are all expected to feature next Wednesday as Caf duty is set to rule them out of the Burkina Faso match.

The last time a full strength Bafana played was in their 2-1 loss to Ethiopia in Addis Ababa on June 16 — a result that effectively ruled them out of contention to qualify for Brazil.

But a Fifa ruling saw the Ethiopians stripped of three log points for fielding an ineligible player against Botswana earlier in the qualifiers and Bafana’s chances, though slim, have since been restored.

Igesund acknowledged that the two friendlies would be the ideal preparation for Botswana — a game that he simply must win.

“It is a great way to prepare as we will be playing formidable opposition in this year’s African Cup of Nations winners [Nigeria] and runners-up [Burkina Faso],” the Bafana coach said.

“It is a great opportunity for us to try a couple of things ahead of the Botswana game.”


Itumeleng Khune, Senzo Meyiwa, Wayne Sandilands, Eric Mathoho, Thabo Nthethe, Tshepo Gumede, Bevan Fransman, Anele Ngcongca, Tsepo Masilela, Thabo Matlaba, Buhle Mkhwanazi, Thulani Hlatshwayo, Innocent Mdledle, Hlompho Kekana, Dean Furman, Oupa Manyisa, Andile Jali, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Siphiwe Tshabalala, Thandani Ntshumayelo, Bongani Zungu,

Thuso Phala, Daine Klate, Lerato Chabangu, Bernard Parker, Tokelo Rantie, Lebogang Manyana, Luyolo Nomandela.

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