JOHANNESBURG – Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter has recalled striker Tokelo Rantie and midfielder Bongani Zungu for next month’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Nigeria.
The clash takes place on Saturday, June 10 at Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo State, Nigeria. Kickoff is at 5pm SA time.
Baxter has kept a good number of players that did duty against Guinea-Bissau and Angola in back-to-back friendly international matches in March.
Goalkeeper Ronwen Williams, Zungu and Rantie make a welcome return to the national team. Aubrey Ngoma of Cape Town City has also been called up.
“I am quite pleased with the squad we have assembled. We have a small element of development with a couple of young players. We also have some players who are returning to the squad, the likes of Zungu and Rantie.
“We have players who have been outstanding in the PSL the whole season, we also have continuity with a number of players that SAFA has invested much time in and we have them in the team. I believe we have a good mix,” said Baxter.
“We have also looked at aerial strength and tried to spread that well throughout the team, it means if we can have good preparation before we go, then we have a squad that is capable of giving Nigeria a good game,” said Baxter.
South Africa have met Nigeria 12 times, with the West Africans emerging victorious on seven occasions, with four matches drawn.
Bafana Bafana’s only win against the Super Eagles came under the first reign of Baxter, in an international friendly match in 2004 played at Ellis Park. Shaun Bartlett and Benedict Vilakazi scored the goals.
“When you look at Nigeria, it’s like the who’s who of African football as most of their players play across the top leagues of the world. That doesn’t always mean it’s a good team, but Nigeria have had a run of games that suggests that they are finding their feet.
“We will play them after they had a three-week training camp in France, but we will monitor their games. They will be playing against Togo and Corsica, and I will have a bit of intelligence on them, but I have already gathered some even before these matches,” added Baxter.
Baxer’s men assemble for camp on Sunday, June 4. There will be two training sessions on Monday and Tuesday, before the team jets off on Wednesday to Uyo State via Lagos.
Bafana Bafana are expected back in the country on Monday, June 12. Their next AFCON fixture will be away to Libya in March next year.
Bafana Bafana squad:
Goalkeepers: Itumeleng Khune, Ronwen Williams, Darren Keet.
Defenders: Ramahlwe Mphahlele, Rivaldo Coetzee, Thulani Hlatshwayo, Erick Mathoho, Lorenzo Gordinho, Abbubaker Mobara, Tebogo Langerman, Sifiso Hlanti.
Midfielders: Hlompho Kekana, Keagan Dolly, Andile Jali, Kamohelo Mokotjo, Dean Furman, Themba Zwane, Bongani Zungu, Aubrey Ngoma.
Strikers: Sibusiso Vilakazi, Percy Tau, Lebogang Manyama, Tokelo Rantie, Thamsanqa Gabuza, Kermit Erasmus.