JOHANNESBURG - Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter says calling up Cape Town City defender and captain Robyn Johannes, 31, to the national team for Saturday’s 2018 World Cup qualifier against Burkina Faso at the FNB Stadium is evidence that “a player will be rewarded for doing well in the PSL”.
The centreback has been asked to come in as replacement for the injured Thulani Hlatshwayo, the Bafana and Bidvest Wits skipper who is battling to recover from a knee injury.
“Robyn has been in important part of the Cape Town City team this season and even as far back as last season,” said Baxter on Monday morning at the team hotel.
“People have to believe that if you do well in the PSL you will be rewarded. What also informed the decision to pick him is because we learnt that our friendly match after the Burkina Faso game has been cancelled, so we will have an internal 11 versus 11 in training.”
Johannes joins young Motjeka Madisha in the squad as a replacement. Madisha took the place of another defender in Mulomowandau Mathoho. Mathoto received an automatic one-match suspens after he was red-carded during Bafana's 2-1 defeat to Cape Verde on September 1, but FIFA subsequently extended the ban to two games also finedthe defender R70000.
Bafana are currently bottom of Group D of the World Cup qualifiers in Russia next year and have collected a single point following their draw against Burkina Faso in the away leg this time last year and then the back-to-back defeats against Cape Verde last month.
They had also managed to beat group favourites Senegal in November last year, but that game will now be replayed after Fifa said it had enough proof that the match had been fixed and was targeted by betting syndicates.
Joseph Lamptey, the referee in charge of that qualifier at the Peter Mokaba Stadium, has since been handed a lifetime ban, which he is fighting through the Swiss courts.