Bafana Bafana

Baxter: Picking younger squad 'not a publicity stunt'

ALL IN THE MIND:  Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter has called a sports psychologist to work on the players’ collective mind-set. (Lefty Shivambu, Gallo Images)
ALL IN THE MIND: Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter has called a sports psychologist to work on the players’ collective mind-set. (Lefty Shivambu, Gallo Images)

Cape Town - National team coach Stuart Baxter has placed confidence in a youthful looking Bafana Bafana side to do the job against Libya.

South Africa take on the North African nation in Durban on Saturday, September 8 in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier, looking for their second victory in Group E after beating Nigeria 2-0 last year.

The squad ncluded some exciting young prospects such as Teboho Mokoena, Siphesihle Ndlovu, Lebogang Mothiba, Innocent Maela and of course Percy Tau.

"The average age is 26.4 and that shows we are bringing in young players and creating a new squad. This is not a publicity stunt," Baxter told the media.

The national team boss further explained his thinking behind the latest selection, adding that the door remains open for those who did not make the cut.

"We have had an 11-man swing from our last qualifier against Senegal (a World Cup qualifier last year), but that doesn't mean those who have been left out are not part of the bigger picture.

"But this makes it clear that our camps in Zambia and during the Cosafa Cup were to deepen the pool of players.

"I have only picked a 22-man squad," he continued. "It wouldn't have made sense to select other players coming from far to sit in the stands, but if we had a second game then I could have looked at a few more of them, maybe even change the way we play a little bit."

BAFANA BAFANA SQUAD:

Goalkeepers: Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs), Ronwen Williams (SuperSport United), Darren Keet (Wits)

Defenders: Ramahlwe Mphahlele (Kaizer Chiefs), Motjeka Madisha (Mamelodi Sundowns), Siyanda Xulu (Maritzburg United), Innocent Maela (Orlando Pirates), Thulani Hlatshwayo, S'Fiso Hlanti, Buhle Mkhwanazi (all Wits)

Midfielders: Dean Furman, Teboho Mokoena (all SuperSport United), Siphesihle Ndlovu (Maritzburg United), Hlompho Kekana, Sibusiso Vilakazi (Mamelodi Sundowns), Bongani Zungu (Amiens, France), Kamohelo Mokotjo (Brentford, England)

Strikers: Themba Zwane (Mamelodi Sundowns), Keagan Dolly (Montpellier, France), Percy Tau (Royal Union, Belgium), Lebo Mothiba (Lille, France), Bradley Grobler (SuperSport United)

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