Bafana coach Gordon Igesund has opted for a blend of youth and experience in his quest to do well in the Cosafa Cup tournament in Zambia.
Wayne Sandilands is one of the few players that have kept their place in the Bafana squad that took part in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers. He’s been consistent for Sundowns between the sticks, and he is expected to start ahead of the inexperienced Ronwen Williams.
Ronwen Williams has been included in the squad purely to gain international experience, and his goalkeeping abilities are unquestionable. The 21-year-old SuperSport United shot stopper has been outstanding both in the domestic league and continental football in the past two years.
Thabo Nthethe – The Bloem Celtic skipper has proved a lot of critics wrong with his fine form and since given a break against CAR, the centre-back has never looked back. He has been given the responsibility to lead Bafana in the absence of Itumeleng Khune.
Bevan Fransman – The former Kaizer Chiefs defender has finally been given a chance to once again prove his defensive abilities at Bafana having previously failed to command a regular place in the Bafana team. His European experience will however, come handy as Igesund will look to come back home with the trophy.
Tefu Mashamaite, Eric Mathoho & Tebogo Langerman – The two Kaizer Chiefs defenders may not travel to Zambia due to club commitments while Sundowns have earlier confirmed that Langerman will not be part of the Bafana team for the Cosafa Cup. Igesund is expected to name replacements for the three defenders.
Thulani Hlatshwayo – The Ajax Cape Town defender had a tiring 2012/2013 domestic season with the Urban Warriors fighting for their lives at the bottom of the PSL log, but he certainly put up a brilliant individual performance throughout the season. His physique is what Igesund needs in the Bafana team against other African opponents.
Tshepo Gumede – The 22-year-old defender had a season to remember with Platinum Stars, and he is one of the players expected to gain as much experience as possible in this tournament. He was recently named the PSL Young Player of the Season after helping Dikwena finish second.
Reneilwe Letsholonyane & Siphiwe Tshabalala – The two experienced midfielders will certainly miss the Cosafa Cup due to club commitments, and Igesund is expected to replace them with experienced players, as he will look to maintain balance in the team.
Hlompho Kekana – The Sundowns hard-tackling midfielder has deservedly been called up to the national team after showing glimpses of improvements to his game since joining Downs from Celtic. He’s expected to fill the void that will be left by Yeye.
Lebogang Manyama – He was one of the few outstanding players for Ajax Cape Town this past season. His dribbling abilities have sparked interest from the two “big” Gauteng clubs. Manyama also has an eye for goals.
Luyolo Nomandela – Making his PSL debut this past season, the Free State Stars attacking midfielder is certainly the right man to make those dangerous runs into the opponents’ box, and Bafana could really benefit from him. He’s comfortable both on the left and the right hand side.
Jabulani Shongwe – He is one of the promising left wingers in South African football, and he regularly featured under Pitso Mosimane at Sundowns. He is definitely one for the future.
Ruzaigh Gamildien – The Bloem Celtic player has been in fine form for Siwelele this past season. He is not only a good supplier of the ball, but a goalscorer. If Igesund is looking for someone to play behind the supporting role, then he is got to look no further than Gamildien.
Katlego Mashego – The Swallows forward forced his way back to the Bafana team with 13 strikes from 22 starts, and eventually finished as the league’s top goalscorer. He also marked his return with a header against CAR in Cameroon. His experience will give Bafana options upfront.
Kermit Erasmus – The want-away SuperSport United striker didn’t have a successful season with Matsatsantsa, but his goalscoring ability has never gone unnoticed. He also brings a lot of experience to the Bafana team.
Thabani Mthembu – The young Platinum Stars striker has done well for himself under coach Cavin Johnson, and although he didn’t score a lot of goals for Dikwena, he is certainly one of the Bafana future strikers for the 2018 Fifa World Cup.