JOHANNESBURG - Kaizer Chiefs veteran Siphiwe Tshabalala has been recalled to the national team four years after he last represented Bafana Bafana in a 1-0 shock friendly match win against Spain at the FNB Stadium.
The 33-year old was on Thursday morning included in coach Stuart Baxter’s side to face Senegal in back-to-back qualifiers for next year’s World Cup. The first game will be played in Polokwane on November 10, with the return leg schedule in Dakar four days later.
“Shabba is the most influential player in the PSL right now,” said Baxter on the call-up.
And indeed he has experienced a purple patch over the last couple of seasons despite his club not winning any trophies under current coach Steve Komphela, who replaced Baxter more than two years ago at Chiefs.
Tshabalala was last part of the Bafana squad in May 2014 when the national team were thumped 5-0 by Brazil at the same venue they beat then world champions Spain.
To date he has 90 caps for Bafana and has scored 12 goals.
“I am not throwing out the whole development notion by picking Shabba for the two Senegal games. But in fact, for us this is about one game, which is here at home before we go to Dakar. And we need the best arsenal we can get for this game. I think he can give us that,” said Baxter.
Meanwhile, Baxter has omitted striker Tokelo Rantie again.
“He said he wasn’t in the right frame of mind because he was disappointed I did not select him for Burkina Faso and he is having issues in Turkey with his club,” the coach explained.
Bafana have to win both games against Senegal to qualify for the World Cup.
Bafana Bafana squad: Goalkeepers: Itumeleng Khune, Wayne Sandilands, and Ronwen Williams. Defenders: Thamsanqa Mkhize, Clayton Daniels, Mulomowandau Mathoho, Motjeka Madisha, Morgan Gould, Thulani Hlatshwayo, Tebogo Langerman, Sifiso Hlanti. Midfielders: Hlompho Kekana, Dean Furman, Keagan Dolly, Andile Jali, Kamohelo Mokotjo, Sibusiso Vilakazi, Themba Zwane, Bongani Zungu, Thulani Serero, Phakamani Mahlambi, Lebogang Manyama, Siphiwe Tshabalala. Strikers: Percy Tau, Bradley Grobler, and Dino Ndlovu.