Johannesburg – Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund on Monday called up Ajax Cape Town defender Thato Mokeke to replace the injured Tsepo Masilela of Kaizer Chiefs in the squad for the African Nations Championship (Chan) which kicks off on Saturday.
“I am very happy I now have a full squad to work with,” Igesund said in a statement on Monday.
“Thato is a young and very good player. We have been keeping an eye on him for quite some time and I believe he will add to the competitiveness within the squad.”
Mokeke will have his first training session with the squad at their training base in Cape Town on Tuesday.
“We also need to thank coach Muhsin Ertugral and every Ajax staff member for the co-operation in assisting with the release of the player,” Igesund said.
“Now the focus will be on the playing field as we continue with our preparations.”
After much controversy, four Kaizer Chiefs players joined the South African football squad in Cape Town and a full complement of players attended a training session on Monday afternoon.
Itumeleng Khune, Bernard Parker, Siphiwe Tshabalala and Tefu Mashamaite joined the team ahead of Bafana's workout while Moeneeb Josephs of Bidvest Wits was also a late arrival on Monday.
An agreement was reached on Friday afternoon, between the SA Football Association and Chiefs, to release the players selected for Chan.
The parties agreed Chiefs would make the players available as previously discussed and agreed by the coaches of the national team and the club.
“Now we can focus on the job at hand. It’s now all systems go,” Igesund said.
“I am very humbled by the support I got from people of South Africa including the entire Safa executive headed by president Dr Danny Jordaan and CEO, Dennis Mumble.
“I also want to thank all clubs that released their players especially Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns considering their respective positions on the league log. That was a huge sacrifice.”
Igesund said the team was going into the tournament with their spirits high knowing the country was behind them. – Sapa