Khartoum, Sudan– Ajax Cape Town midfielder Keagan Dolly will make his international debut for Bafana Bafana when he takes to the field in the team’s opening 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Sudan on Friday.
Speaking before he had heard the news of his inclusion, Dolly said he was delighted to be part of the national team set-up.
“It’s been an honour and I’m so grateful to be among the best players in South Africa. So far, so good and I am just hoping that it can continue,” he said.
Dolly, who has signed a contract with Mamelodi Sundowns for next season, added that working under newly-appointed coach Shakes Mashaba has seen an emphasis placed on rewarding youngsters for their good form, both locally and abroad.
He had been included along with fellow debutant Bongani Ndulula from AmaZulu, in Shakes Mashaba’s 4-4-2 formation.
Dolly will start on the left, with England-based Dean Furman and Belgium-based Andile Jali controlling the central midfield. Kaizer Chiefs winger Mandla Masango will start on the right.
Up front, Tokelo Rantie will work alongside Ndulula and provide some much-needed experience to help the new cap in attack.
Senzo Meyiwa has been handed the captaincy and will be in goal, while in defence, Anele Ngcongca and Erick Mathoho have been tasked with holding the centre. Thulani Hlatshwayo and Thabo Matlaba will be on the flanks.
Mashaba, shortly after finishing up Bafana’s solitary training session in a hot and humid Khartoum on Thursday night, said the decision to hand Meyiwa the captain’s armband was an obvious choice.
“It needed no rocket scientist to see that Senzo deserved this position,” the 64-year-old said.
“He has done well right through the season. In the absence of Itumeleng Khune, we looked at all the boys that we have but we realised that Senzo has achieved a lot, he deserves the nod to be the captain of the team.”
Kick-off for Friday’s fixture is 8pm local time and 7pm in South Africa. – Sapa