SOUTH AFRICA football coach Gordon Igesund yesterday named a 23-man squad to face Zimbabwe in an international friendly match on September 10.
REPORT BY WELLINGTON TONI,SPORTS EDITOR
The venue of the match has not been confirmed, but the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane has been touted as the possible venue, although there is still a possibility that the match could be moved to Johannesburg.
The match will come two days after Zimbabwe would have played Mozambique in a 2014 World Cup qualifier, while South Africa would have taken on Botswana in a crucial match for the same tournament.
The most notable inclusion in the second Bafana squad is that of Siphelele Mthembu, the Platinum Stars forward who bagged a brace against Bidvest Wits in the MTN8 semi-finals last weekend, while players from Orlando Pirates, who are playing in the Caf Champions League, have not been included.
Zifa chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze said they were still awaiting communication from the South African Football Association (Safa) on the match venue.
“Everything is in place, we are just waiting for the match venue, but the match staging agreement between the two nations has already been signed,” he said on Monday.
Warriors coach Ian Gorowa has hinted that he would use mostly South Africa-based players for the tie, who will not be able to play against Mozambique.
“As for the friendly against South Africa, we will use mostly those based in South Africa,” said Gorowa on Monday.
This means goalkeeper Washington Arubi, Onisimor Bhasera, Khama Billiat, Mathew Rusike, Cuthbert Malajila, Denver Mukamba, Rodreck Mutuma and Tafadzwa Rusike will feature in the match, in addition to a few locals.
As the plan is build towards the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, veterans Tapuwa Kapini, Esrom Nyandoro, Terrence Mandaza and Tinashe Nengomasha are not likely to be called up for the match.
South Africa will be using the match as part of their preparations for the 2014 African Nations Championships (Chan), which they will host next January. Zimbabwe also qualified last Saturday after beating Zambia 1-0.
Igesund said yesterday: “The squad to play Zimbabwe will consist of local-based players, without Pirates players, as we look at next year’s Chan tournament that we will host in South Africa.”
Igesund added: “I have excused Pirates players as they have to travel to Congo where they have a match three days after our clash with Zimbabwe.
“It was a tough decision again, but I don’t see any logic in including them in my squad when they have to play far away three days later. They are representing the country, and everyone wants to see them do well as it will benefit Bafana Bafana in the long run.”
The Warriors are also set to be handsomely rewarded for the qualifying for Chan with Zifa president Cuthbert Dube and Mashingaidze having spent Monday working on the awards and a trip to the State House.
Said Zifa communications manager Xolisani Gwesela: “Something is being worked out, they will be handsomely rewarded.”
SA squad for Zimbabwe
Goalkeepers: Itumeleng Khune, Darren Keet, Wayne Sandilands.
Defenders: Tsepo Masilela, Thabo Nthethe, Buhle Mkhwanazi, Marc van Heerden, Thulani Hlatshwayo, Erick Mathoho, Tshepo Gumede.
Midfielders: Siphiwe Tshabalala, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Bongani Zungu, David Mathebula, Luyolo Nomandela, Thuso Phala, Lerato Chabangu, Hlompho Kekana, Ruzaigh Gamildien.
Forwards: Bernard Parker, Siphelele Mthembu, Kermit Erasmus, Lebogang Manyama
Squad for Botswana
Goalkeepers: Itumeleng Khune, Senzo Meyiwa, Wayne Sandilands
Defenders: Thabo Nthethe, Anele Ngcongca, Bongani Khumalo, Tsepo Masilela, Siyanda Xulu, Buhle Mkhwanazi, Thabo Matlaba
Midfielders: Kagisho Dikgacoi, Dean Furman, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Oupa Manyisa, Andile Jali, Kamohelo Mokotjo, Bongani Zungu, Thulani Serero, Siphiwe Tshabalala, Daine Klate
Forwards: Bernard Parker, Tokelo Rantie, Kermit Erasmus