Bafana Bafana will have to tackle Sudan without first choice goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune.
The Kaizer Chiefs number one was left behind when the team flew out to Khartoum this morning for the opening match of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. According to a Safa statement, Khune did not travel because he is carrying a ‘grade three fracture stress’ on the foot bone and the medical team decided against his travelling for fear he would aggravate the injury.
Also not with the squad is Ayanda Patosi who did not arrive for the local camp after failing to connect from Belgium.
Mashaba trimmed his squad for the trip to 24 players, leaving out Ronwen Williams, Buhle Mkhwanazi, George Lebese, Bonginkosi Ntuli, Bongani Zungu, Jabulani Shongwe, Percy Tau and Siyanda Ngubo.
Still, the coach who at the weekend lead the under 20s to qualification for the 2015 Africa Youth Championships finals was content with his squad’s strength.
“I am glad with this group of players I am travelling with. We are going there to fight, make no mistake,” said Mashaba of Friday’s clash at the El Merreikh Stadium in Omdurman, Khartoum.
Orlando Pirates’ Senzo Meyiwa is likely to be in goal for the match.
Meanwhile Ayabulela Magqwaka has revealed how his family celebrated his inclusion in the senior national squad.
“We had a little family braai. There were a lot of tears and a lot of laughter. Everybody was just happy. Everyone at home loves soccer and I am hoping to become a regular Bafana player now. I am over the moon,” said the 18-year-old defender, who was one of the surprise inclusions in the squad.
“I cried when I first got the news and I told my granny about it and she was happy,” he added.
The Gugulethu-born player is one of four under-20 players who have been included in the squad for the qualifiers and after helping Amajita qualify for the Senegal 2015, he feels the young players can now play a role in the senior team during the qualifiers.
“Sometimes it’s good to have youngsters in the team. Sometimes the youngsters are hungrier than the experienced players. Youngsters humble themselves and listen to the coach. I know the coach (Mashaba) shouts a lot, but that’s only because he believes in us.
Being in the Bafana team, with some of the best players, means I will gain some experience.”
Strangely Magqwaka, a solid centre back, is yet to become a regular at his club Ajax Cape Town. He hopes the Bafana call-up helps change things at Ajax.
“The national team call-up has given me a lot of confidence and hopefully they (Ajax) will get a wake-up call. I will go back to my club soon and I will work hard and hopefully I can get an opportunity to play.
“I can’t just move. If I move, will I play somewhere else? I have to think about that as well. I am still a young player and there is a lot to come from me. I want to play overseas.” - The Star