Igesund names Bafana squad for Morocco clash

2013-10-01 16:00

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Describing it as “the start of a new era”, Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund has announced a 23-man squad to play Morocco in an international friendly next Friday at the Agadir Stadium in Agadir City, Morocco.

Apart from the injured Siphiwe Tshabalala and Thulani Serero, who also has a disciplinary cloud hanging over his head, as well as the bulk of otherwise-occupied Orlando Pirates players, Igesund’s mix of youth and experience appeared to be the strongest he could have assembled in the circumstances.

Igesund revealed he had decided not to consider the Pirates players who would be competing in Caf’s prestige two-leg Champions League semi-finals against Tunisia’s Esperance.

“The Buccaneers’ success was a matter of importance for the country as a whole,” the Bafana coach said.

“It was gratifying that Pirates had announced, despite their hectic programme, they would still make their players available for the Morocco trip, but I felt this would be asking too much of them.”

The only Pirates player named in the squad was striker Kermit Erasmus, who was not eligible to play in the Champions League this season because of his late signing for the club.

In all, Igesund picked a balanced squad with an average age of 24.

Twelve of the players plied their trade in the PSL, with the other 11 being overseas-based.

Five of the squad members were uncapped, namely goalkeeper Ronwen Williams (Supersport United), defender Kgosi Ntlhe (Peterborough FC), midfielders, Sibusiso Vilakazi (Bidvest Wits), Ayanda Patosi (Lokeren FC) and Keagan Dolly (Ajax Cape Town FC).

Igesund took over the coaching of Bafana in mid-stream, some 18 months ago, when the team was already in a precarious situation regarding qualification for next year’s World Cup in Brazil.

“Now we can look forward to the 2015 Caf Nations Cup and the 2018 World Cup with a good deal of optimism, with other events like the hosting of next year’s Chan tournament for African-based players all part of the building process.

”When Morocco invited us to play at their new stadium, we jumped at the opportunity,” said Igesund.

“Because of the fact that between now and the 2015 Afcon qualifiers, there are only two Fifa calendar dates to prepare for those qualifiers, this game gives me a great opportunity to have a look at players.”

Igesund also pointed to the quality of the squad Morocco had selected, with half the players named performing for top clubs in Europe.

“What is more, Morocco has a great soccer tradition in Africa,” he said

“They have reached the world cup finals on four occasions and won the African Nations Cup twice. And with them hosting the 2015 Nations Cup, the coming game will give us a valuable insight into the country.”

The South African-based players would assemble for camp in Johannesburg on Sunday and depart for Morocco on Monday.

The overseas-based players would fly directly to Morocco from their various destinations.

In addition to the friendly international, Bafana would also have a training game in Morocco on October 14, against one of he country’s top clubs.

Bafana Bafana squad:

Goalkeepers: Itumeleng Khune, Ronwen Williams, Darren Keet.

Defenders: Anele Ngcongca, Thabo Nthete, Bongani Khumalo, Tsepo Masilela, Buhle Mkhwanazi, Siyanda Xulu, Kgosi Ntlhe.

Midfielders: Kamohelo Mokotjo, Bongani Zungu, Sibusiso Vilakazi, Ayanda Patosi, Daylon Claasen, Keagan Dolly, Dean Furman, Kagisho Dikgacoi, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Lerato Chabangu.

Strikers: Tokelo Rantie, Bernard Parker, Kermit Erasmus.

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