In-form Lebese, Nxumalo rewarded with Bafana call

2015-09-24 06:00
PHOTO: gallo images 

George Lebese of Kaizer Chiefs has attracted the attention of the Bafana Bafana coach with his recent performance and has rewarded him with a call-up for national duties as Bafana Bafana are preparing for two international fri

PHOTO: gallo images George Lebese of Kaizer Chiefs has attracted the attention of the Bafana Bafana coach with his recent performance and has rewarded him with a call-up for national duties as Bafana Bafana are preparing for two international fri

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KaIZER Chiefs midfielder George Lebese was rewarded for his impressive start to the season with a recall to the national team, as was uncapped Ajax Cape Town striker Prince Nxumalo.

Bafana Bafana are due to play two friendlies against World Cup quarter-finalists Costa Rica, and the 85th-ranked Honduras in South America next month.

The two, aged 26 and 25 respectively, have both scored three times in the league, and thoroughly deserve their call ups. However, the inclusion of Orlando Pirates’ non-lethal hitman Thamsanqa Gabuza, baffles yet again.

Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba has always maintained that players who did well in the Premiership would be given a chance to shine at national level, however it is difficult to see how the coach decided to select a striker who played fewer than five games in the league last season, scoring a grand total of zero goals.

Tokelo Rantie, who has featured just once for English Premier League AFC Bournemouth this season, also finds himself included in the team.

As expected, defender Tshepo Masilela was not included after he opted to spend the last international break in the United States while Bafana Bafana were being beaten by lowly Mauritania in a must-win Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

While Mashaba has included the bulk of his Europe-based stars such as Anele Ngcongca, Andile Jali, Mandla Masango, Ayanda Patosi, Thulani Serero and Rantie, Daylon Claasen and Kamohelo Mokotjo have been left out, despite both getting regular game time for their clubs.

Despite the fact that Mashaba has been in the job as national team mentor for well over a year, he wanted to use the games against the South American sides to gauge the level of their performance.

“This is the first time I will be leading this squad out of Africa and it is an exciting prospect. The main idea is to try and gauge our level of performance. Also I think it’s a good experience for us to play teams ranked above us like Costa Rica because to continue improving our ranking, we must play and beat the best,” Mashaba said yesterday.

Although it will be South Africa’s first meeting with Honduras, Costa Rica are opponents the national team have come up against in the past. Mashaba’s last game as national team coach during his first stint in charge in 2003 ended with a 2-1 victory over the South Americans in Potchefstroom, but he learnt that they were a much different prospect.

“We will do our best to go there and get victories. We want to take the Senegal outcome forward and try to win all the games going forward. But, we have to be realistic and acknowledge that along the line, we will encounter turbulence — win some and lose some, but our intention is to win all games,” he said.

It is not clear who will lead the side following Mashaba’s statement last week that he will continue to rotate the captain’s armband as he sees fit. Itumeleng Khune, Dean Furman and Anele Ngconga have all shared the responsibility in recent games.

Bafana Bafana squad

Goalkeepers: Jackson Mabokgwane (Mpumalanga Aces FC), Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs), Ronwen Williams (SuperSport United).

Defenders: Eric Mathoho (Kaizer Chiefs), Rivaldo Coetzee (Ajax Cape Town), Thulani Hlatshwayo (Bidvest Wits), Siyabonga Nhlapo (Bidvest Wits), Anele Ngcongca (Racing Genk, Belgium), Mzikayise Mashaba (Mamelodi Sundowns), Clayton Daniels (SuperSport United), Thabo Matlaba (Orlando Pirates).

Midfielders: Dean Furman (SuperSport United), Andile Jali (KV Oostende, Belgium), Bongani Zungu (Sundowns), Mandla Masango (Randers FC, Denmark), Jabulani Shongwe (Bidvest Wits), Mpho Makola (Orlando Pirates), Ayanda Patosi (Lokeren, Belgium), George Lebese (Kaizer Chiefs), Oupa Manyisa (Orlando Pirates).

Strikers: Thulani Serero (Ajax Amsterdam, The Netherlands), Thamsanqa Gabuza (Orlando Pirates), Sibusiso Vilakazi (Bidvest Wits), Tokelo Rantie (Bournemouth, England), Prince Nxumalo (Ajax Cape Town)

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