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The SA national team will be taking on the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations hosts in Nelspruit later this week, and some players have been given permission to return home

South Africa caretaker coach Steve Komphela has released five players from the squad that will face Gabon in an international friendly on Friday.

The clash will take place at the Mbombela Stadium. Captain Steven Pienaar, striker Katlego Mphela, midfielders Oupa Manyisa and Thanduyise Khuboni as well as defender Bongani Khumalo have all been allowed to go home.

The players left after the squad’s training session on Monday evening.

"We are left with one match, having played two already. Initially we called-up a big squad because we had three back to back clashes and wanted to have cover in various positions in case of injuries. We have seen what the five that we released can give us, and now this is a chance to have a look at other players," said Komphela at a press conference.

"At the same time we also had to reserve some respect to the opposition and not make wholesale changes to our squad. We still need continuity and we believe the players that are remaining will provide the needed balance to tackle Gabon on Friday."

Bafana depart for Nelspruit on Thursday.