Pitso picks mix of fitness, experience
PITSO Mosimane believes Bafana Bafana's road to redemption lies in a mix of in-form and established players. In naming his 27-man squad for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers in Johannesburg yesterday, the Bafana coach said he had picked the best of the bunch to change his team's fortunes, following an eight-match winless streak.
"We have rewarded players on form in the Premier League and also picked important players like Mphela, despite his lack of fitness," said the coach. "We have a good balance, but we can't keep playing draws all the time. Something has got to give."
Bafana will start their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign with a home game against Ethiopia at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium on June 3, with an away clash to Botswana six days later in Gaborone.
The same group of players, if there are no injuries, will also face Gabon in a friendly match on June 15.
Mosimane reiterated that he was frustrated by his team's inability to score goals, stressing the importance of qualifying for the World Cup in Brazil. He has pinned his hopes on Siyabonga Nomvethe, Eleazar Rogers and rookie Tokelo Rantie to help Katlego Mphela upfront.
Free State Stars goal ace Edward Manqele, who got his first cap in the 0-0 draw against Senegal at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in February, has been dropped.
Mosimane has not tasted victory as Bafana coach since the 3-0 win over an under-strength Burkina Faso side in August at Ellis Park. That was followed by defeat away to Niger during the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in September, a game Mosimane believes led to Bafana's failure to make the final 16 of the tournament in January. "We learnt our lesson. We still need to be patient, but the six points against Ethiopia and Botswana are urgent for us because we want to be in Brazil for the World Cup."
Bafana Bafana squad:
GOALKEEPERS - Itumeleng Khune, Wayne Sandilands, Moeneeb Josephs, Darren Keet
DEFENDERS - Morgan Gould, Bongani Khumalo, Siyabonga Sangweni, Punch Masenamela, Siboniso Gaxa, Anele Ngcongca, Tsepo Masilela, Eric Mathoho
MIDFIELDERS - Siphiwe Tshabalala, Andile Jali, Steven Pienaar, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Teko Modise, Thanduyise Khuboni, Hlompho Kekana, Oupa Manyisa, May Mahlangu, Lebohang Mokoena, Mzikayise Mashaba
FORWARDS - Thulani Serero, Rantie, Katlego Mphela, Nomvethe and Rodgers
Players on standby: Luvhengo Mungomeni, Thamsanqa Sangweni and Lehlohonolo Masalesa