Khumalo dropped from Bafana squad

By Drum Digital
14 March 2013

Former Bafana Bafana captain Bongani Khumalo has been dropped from the squad to face Central African Republic (CAR) in a World Cup qualifier in Cape Town next week.

Coach Gordon Igesund said on Thursday that Khumalo, who led the team at the recent Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament, lacked game time and was carrying a slight injury.

Itumeleng Khune would lead the side in Khumalo's absence.

“Everybody is aware that he played his first game for his team (Greek club PAOK) last week,” Igesund said after naming his 23-man squad.

“He's carrying a slight injury. I've chosen not to choose him on the strength that he has not been playing for his club.”

Igesund played down the significance of omitting the defender ahead of the crucial qualifying match.

“Sometimes we make too much of captaincy," he said.

"There are many players who are leaders and I think Khune will do a good job.”

Igesund made five changes to the squad that turned out at Afcon, with defenders Siboniso Gaxa and Khumalo making way for Russia-based Siyanda Xulu and Morgan Gould of Kaizer Chiefs.

Belgium-based Daylon Claasen makes a return to the squad, along with Dino Ndlovu, who plays his club football in Israel, and Daine Klate from Orlando Pirates.

Thulani Serero and Katlego Mphela were dropped, while Lehlohonolo Majoro was not considered due to injury.

“I did not make too many changes because I believe in continuity," Igesund said.

“We need to continue from where we left off in the Afcon tournament.

"I still believe we have a good chance of qualifying for Brazil in 2014, provided we win our upcoming match ang go and do well in the two away matches.

Igesund, taking charge of his first World Cup qualifier since he took the reins of the side in June last year, said CAR would be a difficult prospect.

Bafana are third in their qualifying group with two points -- two adrift of leaders Ethiopia, and one behind second-placed CAR. Botswana are lying bottom of the table with one point.

“They are a very dangerous team. We will play them home and away and it is important for us to get the win at home," he said.

"They're very strong and physical, but if we can move the ball around and keep it on the ground we'll do well.”

Bafana Bafana squad: Goalkeepers: Itumeleng Khune, Wayne Sandilands, Senzo Meyiwa.

Defenders: Siyanda Xulu, Anele Ngcongca, Thabo Matlaba, Tsepo Masilela, Morgan Gould, Siyabonga Sangweni, Thabo Nthethe.

Midfielders: Thuso Phala, Siphiwe Tshabalala, Dean Furman, Kagisho Dikgacoi, Daylon Claasen, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, May Mahlangu, Oupa Manyisa, Lerato Chabangu, Daine Klate.

Forwards: Bernard Parker, Dino Ndlovu, Tokelo Rantie.

-by Sapa

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