Yesterday, at Safa House in Nasrec, Baxter announced a provisional 30-man squad that will assemble for their first Afcon preparation camp from 2-11 June in Johannesburg. However, before the team departs to Dubai on 12 June to continue with their preparations, that squad will be trimmed down to 23 players who will be the country’s flag bearers in the continental showpiece from 21 June-19 July in Egypt.
Erasmus was one of the noticeable returnees to the national team following his impressive exploits for Cape Town City this season. But during his previous spells with Bafana, the former SuperSport United striker came across as someone who was aggravated by being a bench-warmer, let alone kicking his heels in the stands. However, the British coach has made it clear that Erasmus will have to work his socks off - during the first camp in Johannesburg - in order to board the flight to the United Arab Emirates.
“Kermit is one of the players that have been around us,” Baxter said. “We chose not to include him in previous camps because I always felt it was too quick. Prior to the last camp, I had a long conversation with Benni McCarthy (City coach) because I thought he had done a good job with Kermit. But I told Benni that I couldn’t guarantee Kermit that place in Bafana and I thought when he came back, he should be really well equipped and I think he understands the situation now.”
Meanwhile, David Notoane will spearhead the Bafana squad that will play in the Cosafa Cup in Durban from 28 May-8 June. The squad will be made up of mostly Under-23 players, who will be preparing for the Caf eight nations qualifiers’ last round against Zimbabwe in September. French-based midfielder Keagan Dolly made the Cosafa Cup and Afcon squads. Dolly’s inclusion in the Southern African competition is to give him game time following a long absence due to injury.
Bafana Afcon squad:
Goalkeepers: Darren Keet, Rowen Williams and Bruce Bvuma.
Defenders: Daniel Cardoso, Rivaldo Coetzee, Ramahlwe Mphahlele, Thulani Hlatshwayo, Innocent Maela, S’Fiso Hlanti, Buhle Mkhawanazi and Thamsanqa Mkhize.
Midfielders: Bongani Zungu, Hlompho Kekana, Dean Furman, Kamohelo Mokotjo, Tiyani Mabunda, Thulani Serero, Thembinkosi Lorch, Themba Zwane, Fortune Makaringe, Ben Motshwari and Keagan Dolly
Strikers: Lebo Mothiba, Percy Tau, Lars Veldwijk, Lebogang Maboe, Sibusiso Vilakazi and Kermit Erasmus
Passport Pending Players:
Nikola Tavares and Joel Unteresee.