9 April 2014
Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund on Tuesday announced an 18-man squad to play international friendly matches against Australia and New Zealand next month.
South Africa face 2014 Fifa World Cup-bound Australia on Monday, 26 May at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney. Four days later, on 30 May, they take on New Zealand at the Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland.
‘The Association’s vision’
“These matches are an intergral part of the association’s vision to have Bafana Bafana play against some of the top sides in the world,” Safa president Danny Jordaan said at the announcement of the squad in Johannesburg.
“For us to have a strong Bafana Bafana, we will have to face these big footballing nations. We have already played the likes of Spain and Brazil, and we have lined up more high-profile games, which we will unveil with time.”
Bafana Bafana last met Australia in London 2008, with the teams sharing a 2-2 draw. The Socceroos will use the forthcoming match to finalise their preparations for the World Cup.
In six previous meetings, Australia have scored three 1-0 wins, South Africa won 2-0 in Johannesburg in 1996, and the last two encounters ended in draws.
In Bafana’s only previous match against New Zealand, in Rustenburg during the 2009 Fifa Confederations Cup, South Africa won 2-0, with Bernard Parker, who is part of the current squad, scoring both goals.
‘Capable of doing us proud’
“I believe I have selected players capable of doing us proud Down Under in the two matches,” Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund said.
“We are also happy to have been given the opportunity to assist Australia in their preparations for the 2014 Fifa World Cup tournament in Brazil. This is a chance we could not miss. We hope our match will be of great assistance.
“As these matches do not fall under the Fifa calendar dates, I hope we will get all the players that we would like to have for the two clashes,” he added.
The Bafana Bafana squad assembles on Monday, 19 May and will have two training sessions at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto on the following two days before departing for Sydney.
BAFANA BAFANA SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Ronwen Williams (SuperSport United), Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs)
Defenders: Thabo Nthethe (Mamelodi Sundowns), Buhle Mkhwanazi (University of Pretoria), Tsepo Masilela (Kaizer Chiefs), Anele Ngcongca (Racing Genk, Belgium), Thabo Matlaba (Orlando Pirates), Siyanda Xulu (Rostov FC, Russia)
Midfielders: Andile Jali (Oostende FC, Belgium), Oupa Manyisa (Orlando Pirates), Bongani Zungu (Mamelodi Sundowns), Themba Zwane (Mpumalanga Black Aces), Thulani Serero (Ajax Amsterdam, Netherlands), Siphiwe Tshabalala (Kaizer Chiefs), Kagisho Dikgacoi (Crystal Palace, England), Ayanda Patosi (Lokeren, Belgium)
Strikers: Bernard Parker (Kaizer Chiefs), Tokelo Rantie (Bournemouth, England)