Bafana in Afcon opener: Ronwen Williams starts, Serero benched
Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter sprung a few surprises in his starting line-up for the Africa Cup of Nations opener against Ivory Coast in Cairo on Monday (4.30pm SA time start).
The first eye-catching call came in the goalkeeper berth, where SuperSport United start Ronwen Williams has edged out regular Darren Keet of Wits.
Williams has been in outstanding form for Matsatsantsa a Pitori, but Keet has done well for Bafana and started in their Afcon qualifiers.
Williams, who was chosen as the Premiership Goalkeeper of the Season, is the more agile shot-stopper, while the taller Keet is a commanding presence when dealing with crosses into the box.
Another big decision by Baxter was to leave out Dutch-based playmaker Serero in midfield, with the likes of Lebohang Maboe and Themba Zwane getting the nod.
Thembinkosi Lorch of Orlando Pirates also has to be satisfied with a spot on the bench, as French-based striker Lebo Mothiba starts upfront.
Baxter will be able to introduce some firepower in the second half if required, with Hlompho Kekana, Lorch and Lars Veldwijk among the options.
Bafana Bafana Team
Ronwen Williams, Sfiso Hlanti, Buhle Mkhwanazi, Thulani Hlatshwayo (captain), Thamsanqa Mkhize, Kamohelo Mokotjo, Dean Furman, Lebohang Maboe, Themba Zwane, Percy Tau, Lebo Mothiba.
Substitutes: Darren Keet, Bruce Bvuma, Innocent Maela, Ramahlwe Mphahlele, Daniel Cardoso, Hlompho Kekana, Tiyani Mabunda, Bongani Zungu, Thulani Serero, Thembinkosi Lorch, Lars Veldwijk, Sbusiso Vilakazi.@ashfakmohamed