Mandela Challenge: Bafana squad named

6 November 2012

Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund has named a 24-man squad to take on Zambia in the annual Nelson Mandela Challenge taking place at Johannesburg's FNB Stadium on Wednesday, 14 November.

The teams clashed in the inaugural Nelson Mandela Challenge in 1994, with South Africa winning 2-1, and the "return" clash next week promises fireworks.

R1-million from the proceeds of the contest will go to the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund.

Eight changes

In his fifth game in charge of the national team, coach Igesund has made eight changes to the squad that travelled to Poland and Kenya last month, with seven of the new players selected based overseas.

Itumeleng Khune retains his place in goal and is joined by Darren Keet of KV Kortrijk (Belgium) as the only goalkeepers in the squad.

In defence, another Belgium-based player, Anele Ngcongca, returns to the squad for the first time under Igesund after recovering from injuries.

Also back in the squad after a long absence are Thanduyise Khuboni (Golden Arrows), Thuso Phala (Platinum Stars), Kermit Erasmus (Supersport United) and Katlego Mashego of Moroka Swallows.

'Last chance'

"This is probably the last chance for a lot of players, especially the overseas-based players, to impress because we don't have a Fifa date any more between now and the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations tournament," Igesund told the media at the announcement of the squad in Johannesburg on Monday.

"I am happy with the progress we are making, and the squad is taking shape nicely; a number of players and clubs are showing passion towards the national cause and this is giving me a good 'headache'," he added.

"I now have most of the squad I need for the tournament, but I am left with about 20 percent [still undecided], with the likes of Thulani Serero, Siboniso Gaxa, Daylon Claasen, Benni McCarthy, Davide Somma and Morgan Gould, to mention but a few, still to fight for the remaining places.

"The truth is they have a lot of work to do, because they need to show me that not only have they fully recovered from their injuries and are fit, but also that they are playing regularly for their clubs."

Assistant coach

Igesund will have Serame Letsoaka as his only assistant following the passing away of Thomas Madigage last month.

"I believe Serame and I have what it takes to take this team forward. For the moment we won't be replacing Tommy and I don't think there is a need to find a replacement," he said.

Bafana Bafana will dedicate their African Cup of Nations campaign to Madigage, who passed away in late October.

BAFANA BAFANA SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs), Darren Keet (KV Kortrijk, Belgium)

Defenders: Bevan Fransman (SuperSport United), Thabo Nthethe (Bloemfontein Celtic), Siyabonga Sangweni (Orlando Pirates), Anele Ngcongca (Racing Genk, Belgium), Punch Masenamela (Mamelodi Sundowns), Bongani Khumalo (PAOK Thessaloniki, Greece), Ricardo Nunes (MSK Zilina, Slovakia)

Midfielders: Oupa Manyisa (Orlando Pirates), Reneilwe Letsholonyane (Kaizer Chiefs), Siphiwe Tshabalala (Kaizer Chiefs), Sifiso Myeni (Orlando Pirates), Thanduyise Khuboni (Golden Arrows), Teko Modise (Mamelodi Sundowns), Delron Buckley (Maritzburg United), Lerato Chabangu (Moroka Swallows), Thuso Phala (Platinum Stars), Kagisho Dikgacoi (Crystal Palace, England), Dean Furman (Oldham Athletic, England)

Strikers: Bernard Parker (Kaizer Chiefs), Katlego Mashego (Moroka Swallows), Tokelo Rantie (Malmo, Sweden), Kermit Erasmus (SuperSport United)

SAinfo reporter

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