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Igesund: 50 million South Africans are behind us for Chan

Masilela replacement Mokeke joins Bafana on Tuesday

Igesund: 50 million South Africans are behind us for Chan

Bafana will play NFD leaders Milano United, while Ajax Cape Town defender Thato Mokeke is replacing the injured Kaizer Chiefs left back

Kaizer Chiefs' players Tefu Mashamaite, Bernard Parker, Siphiwe Tshabalala and Itumeleng Khune joined the Bafana Chan squad along with Bidvest Wits' Moeneeb Josephs on Monday.

South Africa coach Igesund is optimistic after Ajax Cape Town released Mokeke for national duty at Chan.

“I am very happy I now have a full squad to work with. Thato is a young and very good player. We have been keeping an eye on him for quite some time and I believe he will add to the competitiveness within the squad," Igesund told the media.

“We also need to thank coach Muhsin Ertugral and every Ajax staff member for the cooperation in assisting with the release of the player. Now the focus will be on the playing field as we continue with our preparations.

”Today is the first time I was able to work with the full squad and the vibe is very good. I am very pleased. Now we can focus on the job at hand. It’s now all systems go,” said Igesund.

After a long struggle to gain players from leading PSL clubs, Igesund is grateful for Chiefs and Sundowns to release their players despite their title ambitions.

“I also want to thank all clubs that released their players especially Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns considering their respective positions on the league log. That was a huge sacrifice. To coaches Stuart Baxter and Pitso Mosimane; your patriotism is unflinching,” said Igesund.

However the Bafana coach is not happy that tournament preparations were slow and that the hosts suffered setbacks in finding a friendly opponent before their opening game against Mozambique on Saturday.

"It's been a difficult period in the last couple of weeks, trying to get a team together and also organise training matches under our belt," said Igesund.

"That's the one and only thing that I'm disappointed about, we haven't been able to get a match. We tried to get hold of Uganda but they can only get here tomorrow. We tried to get hold of Morocco but they arrive the day after that. We've also been talking to Ghana but they are not here yet.

Igesund’s next option was to play against one of the local sides in the Mother City. National First Division log leaders, Milano United were asked to step up in aid of preparations for the Bafana team. The Cape Town side will host Igesund’s men at the Grassy Park Sports Complex (16:00 kickoff on Tuesday) in a closed-door friendly.

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