Robot called in to action for U-23s

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Clifford "Robot" Ngobeni, Ajax Cape Town's star midfielder, has been recalled for the South African Under-23 national soccer side's crucial 2008 Beijing Olympics qualifier against Ghana at Olen Park in Potchefstroom on September 8.

The team was announced by coach Steve Komphela at a media briefing in Johannesburg yesterday. Komphela said they were looking forward to a tough game, adding that their plan was to register their first win to remain in the race to qualify for the finals in China.

After initially including the Jomo Cosmos duo of Thapelo Tshilo and Sibusiso Hadebe, Komphela and his assistant Serame Letsoaka were forced to drop them after Fifa informed them on Wednesday that the players remain suspended.

Tshilo was replaced by Kirk Leray of National First Division side FC AK, while Daine Klate of SuperSport United came in for the troublesome Hadebe, who starred against Nigeria two weeks ago.

This was despite an announcement by Fifa that all the results featuring Ethiopia, who have since withdrawn from the qualifiers, were null and void. Hadebe and Tshilo were booked in the 2-2 and 1-1 draws against Ethiopia and Nigeria.

The team is:

Goalkeepers - Senzo Meyiwa (Orlando Pirates), Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs);

Defenders - James Madidilane (Bloemfontein Celtic), Leray, Tshepo Masilela (Benoni Premier United), Sosibo, Luvhengo Mngomeni (Black Leopards), Jeffrey Ntuka (Westerlo, Belgium);

Midfielders - Bryce Moon, Mkhanyiseli Siwahla, Ngobeni (all from Ajax Cape Town), Bernard Parker (Benoni), Masilo Modubi (Westerlo), Klate, Richard Rantjie (both SuperSport), Lance Davids (Djurgardens, Sweden);

Strikers - Lerato Chabangu (Mamelodi Sundowns), Lebohang Mokoena (Pirates), Erwin Isaacs (Santos) and George Maluleke (SuperSport).