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Bafana Bafana will use friendlies to dust off cobwebs



Bafana Bafana will use friendlies to dust off cobwebs

Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki. (Photo: Sydney Seshibedi / Gallo Images)

It’s been almost 12 months since Bafana Bafana last played a match and they will be using the two friendlies they have lined up against Namibia and Zambia to gear up for the crucial Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Molefi Ntseki’s Bafana Bafana team are set to return to action for the first time in almost a year. They will host Namibia and Zambia in two international friendlies on Thursday and Saturday.

The team last played in November 2019, when they beat Sudan 1-0 in their second match towards qualification for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).

Following that, prospective international matches were shelved as Covid-19 swept in. But Ntseki is looking forward to getting back in the saddle after the lengthy hiatus.

The coach has chosen to mix things up for the two clashes, selecting a squad that comprises senior players as well as some players who will represent South Africa at the Tokyo Olympic Games next year, and others who impressed over the season, but are uncapped.

“This exercise is all about introduction and induction. We have called up a number of youngsters to get the feel of the senior national team setup and that is very critical. The whole idea is to merge these players so that going forward we have a huge pool in case of injuries or any other mishap,” said Ntseki on the composition of his team.

“It is critical that we broaden the database and increase the number and quality of players ready to play for Bafana Bafana. So, this mixture is important as part of preparations for future assignments.’’

Among the players that have been included is Luther Singh. The 23-year-old Portugal-based forward, who was a vital part of Amaglug-glug’s Olympic qualification, is excited at the chance of turning out for the senior team once more, after making his debut in 2018. He is also looking forward to learning from seniors such as new Mamelodi Sundowns striker Kermit Erasmus.

“It’s always a great honour and great opportunity for me to represent my country,” Singh said. “And it’s actually good to be back in the national team after a long time, and once again I’m grateful for the opportunity I have got.”

“I’m looking forward to working with them and to learn from them as well and also to help where I can.”

Singh and company will be aiming to fine-tune their performance before their crucial double-header clash against Sao Tome, as they continue their push for Afcon qualification. Ntseki’s men will clash with the islanders at the FNB Stadium on 13 November, before travelling for the return game on 16 November.

Whereas he might not be too demanding during the friendlies against Namibia and Zambia, instead focusing on the sharpening of tactics, match fitness and team synergy, Ntseki will undoubtedly be eyeing six points in the fixtures against Sao Tome. Having already lost one game – against Ghana – of their two games so far in their group, Ntseki’s men can ill-afford to drop any points against Sao Tome.

Hauling maximum points in those two games is vital, because after that they face two tough final fixtures. They will round off their Afcon qualifiers in March 2021 with a home game against Ghana, before jetting off to Sudan. DM

Full Bafana Bafana Squad:

Goalkeepers: Darren Keet (Oud-Heverlee Leuven, Belgium), Ronwen Williams (SuperSport United), Ricardo Goss (Mamelodi Sundowns)

Defenders: Thibang Phete (OS Belenenses SAD, Portugal), Motjeka Madisha (Mamelodi Sundowns), Thulani Hlatshwayo, S’fiso Hlanti, Innocent Maela (Orlando Pirates), Mosa Lebusa (Mamelodi Sundowns), Abbubaker Mobara (Cape Town City), Reeve Frosler (Kaizer Chiefs)

Midfielders: Andile Jali, Mothobi Mvala, Themba Zwane (Mamelodi Sundowns), Thabo Nodada (Cape Town City), Teboho Mokoena (SuperSport United), Gladwin Shitolo (Golden Arrows), Keagan Dolly (Montpellier, France), Percy Tau (RSC Anderlecht, Belgium), Thabiso Kutumela (Maritzburg United), Siyethemba Sithebe (AmaZulu)

Forwards: Kermit Erasmus (Cape Town City), Lebohang Manyama (Kaizer Chiefs), Luther Singh (Braga FC, Portugal), Lyle Foster (Vitória Guimarães)


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