Baxter picks Bruce Bvuma, Lars Veldwijk for decisive Bafana Afcon qualifier
Bruce Bvuma and Lars Veldwijk were the surprise names in the Bafana Bafana squad revealed on Monday for the decisive Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Libya on March 24.
Stuart Baxter also included midfielder Thulani Serero, but there was no place for Cape Town City forward Kermit Erasmus or Wits star Phakamani Mahlambi.
Baxter opted to go for experience mainly, with the likes of Rivaldo Coetzee and Aubrey Modiba included among the defenders.
France-based Bongani Zungu is also back from injury, alongside regulars such as Hlompho Kekana, Themba Zwane and Dean Furman.
But it is the selections of Veldwijk and Bvuma that will raise eyebrows.
The Dutch-born 27-year-old qualifies for Bafana due to his father being South African, and plays for Eredivisie side Sparta Rotterdam. He has just one Bafana cap – back in 2016 in a World Cup qualifier against Senegal.
Bvuma is the current third-choice goalkeeper at Kaizer Chiefs, behind Daniel Akpeyi (Nigeria) and Virgil Vries (Namibia), following the long-term injury-enforced absence of Itumeleng Khune.
Bafana need a point from the match, which will take place in Sfax, Tunisia (7pm SA time kickoff), to qualify for the Afcon in Egypt in June.
“It’s good to have almost everyone back on board because there is no doubt how crucial this match is – no one needs a reminder of that,” Baxter said in a statement.
“We are well aware of what we need to do – the mission is clear, win your match and you are safe.
“It is very dangerous to play for draw, as it can come back to bite you – the match will dictate how we handle things, but our approach from the onset is to go out there and win the match.
“They want it as much as we do, so it is going to be a battle royale in Tunisia, and I am confident my players will be ready for it. I am optimistic they will leave everything on the field to make sure we cross that line.”
Bafana Bafana Squad
Goalkeepers: Darren Keet (Wits), Ronwen Williams (SuperSport United), Bruce Bvuma (Kaizer Chiefs).
Defenders: Daniel Cardoso (Kaizer Chiefs), Rivaldo Coetzee (Mamelodi Sundowns), Aubrey Modiba (SuperSport), Thulani Hlatshwayo (captain), Buhle Mkhwanazi, Sfiso Hlanti (all Wits), Innocent Maela (Orlando Pirates), Thamsanqa Mkhize (Cape Town City).
Midfielders: Bongani Zungu (Amiens), Hlompho Kekana, Themba Zwane, Tiyani Mabunda (all Sundowns), Dean Furman (SuperSport), Kamohelo Mokotjo (Brentford City, England), Thulani Serero (Vitesse FC), Thembinkosi Lorch (Pirates).
Strikers: Lebo Mothiba (RC Strasbourg), Percy Tau (Royal Union Saint), Lars Veldwijk (Sparta Rotterdam), Lebohang Maboe (Sundowns), Keagan Dolly (Montpellier).
Bafana Bafana squad to play Libya pic.twitter.com/Mwse8i8lUD— Bafana Bafana (@BafanaBafana) March 11, 2019