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Mashaba selects strong squad for WC qualifier

Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba has picked a squad of heavyweights ahead of the side’s opening 2018 World Cup qualifier against Burkina Faso early next month.

The national team will also leave South Africa four days prior to the Group D clash in an attempt to acclimatise to what is expected to be extremely hot conditions in Ouagadougou on October 8.

Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba has picked a squad of heavyweights ahead of the side's opening 2018 World Cup qualifier against Burkina Faso early next month. Photo: Muzi Ntombela. Credit: Backpagepix

Mashaba has included midfielders May Mahlangu, Thulani Serero, Oupa Manyisa and Ayanda Patosi in his 25-man travelling team and said this morning he was confident he had a side that will deliver. The quartet have been absent from previous Bafana teams due to injuries, lack of game time and, in Patosi’s case, just the coach’s preference.

It appears Patosi, who plays for Lokeren FC in Belgium has taken the place of Mandla Masango, another player who is struggling to break into his team’s match-day squad in Denmark.

The coach confirmed that Andile Jali, currently on the books of KV Oostende in Belgium, is out injured and will not be in action for at least three weeks, meaning he could be a doubt for Bafana’s second World Cup qualifier against Senegal on November 12 here in South Africa.

Cape Verde completes Group D, where only the outright winner books at ticket to the World Cup in Russia in less than two year’s time.

“You must remember that these are not new players to the Bafana set-up,” Mashaba said. “Some of them could not get into the team because of injuries and not playing, but with this team we believe we have the people that can do a job for us and make sure we win. Yes, we started our Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers poorly, but we want to have an advantage this time around and make sure we qualify. This is very important for us.”

The SA Football Association also confirmed that Bafana will host Ghana in a friendly match at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on October 11, a match that will serve as preparation for the game against Senegal almost exactly a month later at a venue yet to be confirmed.

Bafana squad:

Goalkeepers: Jackson Mabokgwane, Itumeleng Khune, Brighton Mhlongo

Defenders: Ramahlwe Mphahlele, Rivaldo Coetzee, Thulani Hlatshwayo, Abbubakar Mobara, Diamond Thopola, Tebogo Langerman, Eric Mathoho, Thabo Matlaba

Midfielders: Dean Furman, May Mahlangu, Thulani Serero, Oupa Manyisa, Ayanda Patosi, Keagan Dolly, Aubrey Modiba, Mpho Makola, Hlompho Kekana

Strikers: Eleazar Rodgers, Thamsanqa Gabuza, Thobani Mncwango, Sibusiso Vilakazi, Tokelo Rantie

Follow Mazola Molefe on [email protected]

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