CAPE TOWN – Stuart Baxter promised that he would wield the axe, and the Bafana Bafana coach has followed through by making five changes to the starting XI to face Cape Verde in a must-win 2018 World Cup qualifier in Durban on Tuesday night.
The rather unsteady Ronwen Williams – a surprise starter in Praia last Friday – has paid the price for conceding two goals by making way for the more experienced and solid Wayne Sandilands in goal.
There are two further new names in defence, with SuperSport United centre back Morgan Gould replacing Mulomowandau Mathoho – who was red-carded last week – and Sifiso Hlanti comes in for Tebogo Langerman at left back.
Baxter didn’t stop there, adding some much-needed steel to his midfield by opting for the physical presence of Hlompho Kekana for Bongani Zungu.
A new-look attack sees Lebogang Manyama – who (along with Zungu), Baxter said wasn’t “at their best mental shape” due to impending club transfers last week – drop to the bench for specialist striker Bradley Grobler, who will dovetail with Tokelo Rantie upfront.
It is certainly a much more positive make-up, as Bafana will go searching for goals at Moses Mabhida Stadium as they have to win to keep their qualification face in their own hands.
But the likes of Dean Furman and Keagan Dolly are somewhat fortunate to keep their starting spots ahead of the likes of Thulani Serero, Andile Jali and Kamohelo Mokotjo, and owe Baxter and Bafana fans big performances tonight to repay the faith.
Kickoff is at 7pm.
Bafana Bafana XI
Wayne Sandilands, Morgan Gould, Thulani Hlatshwayo (captain), Sifiso Hlanti, Ramahlwe Mphahlele, Dean Furman, Hlompho Kekana, Themba Zwane, Keagan Dolly, Bradley Grobler, Tokelo Rantie.
Substitutes: Reyaad Pieterse, Ronwen Williams, Clayton Daniels, Tebogo Langerman, Abbubaker Mobara, Daylon Claasen, Thulani Serero, Kamohelo Mokotjo, Andile Jali, Bongani Zungu, Lebogang Manyama, Percy Tau, Kermit Erasmus.