Selection poser for Bafana over defiant 4

2015-03-08 15:00

All eyes will be on Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba to see whether he will select four overseas-based players with whom he had a fallout for an upcoming friendly against west African powerhouse Nigeria.

While Safa has resolved the impasse between Mashaba and Thulani Serero, May Mahlangu, Kamohelo Mokotjo and Ayanda Patosi, their selection for the team that will play Nigeria later this month is anything but guaranteed.

Will Mashaba buckle under pressure and select the four or will he stick to his guns and ignore them?

On Friday, Safa president Danny Jordaan said they would engage with the players after they had been overlooked for previous camps.

He said as far as Safa was concerned, the players were available to play Nigeria at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, on March 29.

“We are going to engage with the likes of Thulani Serero and May Mahlangu and we expect them to be available for selection,” said Jordaan.

He said he had held a meeting with Mashaba about the issue.

Last year, Safa banned Mahlangu from Bafana duties after he announced he wanted to be excused from an Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against Sudan. He cited fatigue as the reason.

Jordaan said the indefinite suspension of Mahlangu was over and the midfielder, who plays for Turkish Süper Lig side Konyaspor, was once again eligible for selection for the national team.

“When we said ‘indefinitely’, we did not mean ‘till death do us part’.

“Indefinitely means ‘for an unknown period of time’, and now that time is over.”

Ajax Amsterdam star Serero was overlooked for the Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea and Mashaba came under severe criticism after he left the influential midfielder out of his final squad.

Mokotjo, who plies his trade in the Netherlands for FC Twente, was called up for the first camp but wasn’t used in the two qualifiers against Sudan and Nigeria. Mashaba said the defensive midfielder looked sluggish when he was last called up.

Patosi, who has been with Belgian outfit Lokeren since 2011, has never featured for Mashaba after he missed his flight before the Sudan game in September and failed to make the cut for the Afcon tournament.

Mashaba reiterated his stance that only players who met his criteria would be selected.

The coach demands that his players be “patriotic, dedicated, committed and hard-working”.

He said he was looking forward to renewing the intense rivalry with Nigeria after the two countries could not find a way to break the stalemate in their Afcon qualifiers in September and November.

Meanwhile, the national Under-17 side, the Amajimbos, will play Mali in a repeat of last Sunday’s African Youth Championship final, which the west African nation won 2-0.

This intriguing grudge match will form the curtain-raiser for Bafana’s clash against Nigeria.

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