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Mosimane picks players for USA - including Somma

By Sowetan LIVE | 2010-11-10 13:11:12.0

Bafana Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane has announced a 23-man squad to face America's national team. The match will be played on Wednesday, 17 November at the Cape Town Stadium

Kick off is at 21H30 due to a dual broadcast with ESPN in the USA.

This year's match is the 16th edition of the Nelson Mandela Challenge.

The match sees the absence of experienced campaigners like Captain Aaron Mokoena, Katlego Mphela as well as Macbeth Sibaya. Defender Bongani Khumalo has been left out due to injury.

Mosimane has recalled defenders Siyanda Xulu of Mamelodi Sundowns, Keegan Ritchie of Moroka Swallows and Bevan Fransman of Hapoel Tel Aviv in Israel. Midfielder Matthew Pattison also returns to the national team since the pre-2010 FIFA World Cup training camp in Durban earlier this year.

"This is a friendly match so I will be trying to have a look at other players and for that to happen I had to leave out some of the regulars in the team. But most of them have been with us before, so it's all about continuity and staying on track with our Vision 2014," the coch said in a statement.

"On the other hand, friendly matches are a big challenge because as much as you try to make changes, it means you have to tamper with your winning combinations. But then again these are the challenges that exist in this game, we have to strike a balance but also not to lose focus of our vision of slowly bringing in young players," he added.

The only newcomer is England-based Davide Somma.

The Leeds United striker gets a call-up after rave reviews following his prolific strike rate at his club. The 25-year old Somma was born on March 26 1985 in Johannesburg. He plays as a striker while most of his early career he played as a winger. Somma moved to America as a 12 year old before finding his way to England.

"It's important to give him a chance to see what he is made of, but at the same time I don't want to put him under pressure and put it to him that he is the answer to our scoring problems.

"I just want to give him a chance to play for South Africa and increase our pool of strikers.

"He has been scoring in almost every match so we have to bring him in, and I hope it works out for him," Mosimane said.

SAFA CEO Leslie Sedibe commented: "The highlight of the Nelson Mandela Challenge will be the presentation of a one million rand cheque by the two captains to the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund. It is in this spirit that we urge the people of Cape Town to fill the stadium to capacity".

The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund expressed their gratitude to SAFA for the donation, saying it will go a long way in putting smiles on the faces of many disadvantaged children.

"The joint message that this partnership brings ... is that the best that can be done for children today will help them learn to give back to society tomorrow. This makes us the architects of a brighter future we would like our children to inherit," said Acting CEO and Programmes' Director of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund Moipone Buda-Ramatlo.

Tickets for the double header are already on sale at Computicket and Shoprite-Checkers outlets countrywide. They cost R50 only for tier three (level three) at the stadium, and R100 for tiers one and two (levels one and two).