Ngcobo back with Bafana

AFTER initially claiming he was not ready for international soccer, Sthembiso Ngcobo is back with Bafana Bafana for Saturday's friendly against Madagascar in Kimberley.

AFTER initially claiming he was not ready for international soccer, Sthembiso Ngcobo is back with Bafana Bafana for Saturday's friendly against Madagascar in Kimberley.

Ngcobo snubbed Bafana Bafana twice this year - after he was called up for friendlies against Zambia in Atteridgeville and Chile in Polokwane.

"We have sent a call-up letter to his club (Free State Stars) and have not heard anything to the contrary," said Bafana Bafana manager Sipho Nkumane.

Stars' brand manager Rantsi Mokoena confirmed last night that the player will be joining Bafana in Kimberley.

Bafana coach Joel "Still Building" Santana has also included Moeneeb Josephs and Emille Baron in the 22-member squad to face the Indian Ocean islanders.

It made a lot sense for Santana to recall Josephs who is on top of his game at Pirates.

Santana is expected to name veteran Benson Mhlongo as captain for the match, where the Bafana squad will feature only players based in South Africa.

The under-fire Brazilian coach surprised many people by including Gert Schalkwyk and Reneilwe Letsholonyane, who have not been playing regularly at their respective clubs.

In a statement released by Safa's media department yesterday, Santana said: "We encourage players to work hard and to be consistent in their teams, we are monitoring all players, hence the inclusion of a few new players in the Bafana Bafana set-up.

"We are also retaining a number of players from previous camps because we are happy with their performance when they do duty at their respective clubs."

Franklin Cale and Teko Modise were in the initial squad but Santana was forced to withdraw them due to injuries.

The squad will travel to Kimberley today to start their preparations for the game.

Tickets for the match are on sale at Computicket outlets and Shoprite-Checkers stores.

Kickoff for Saturday's match is at 3.30pm.

The team is:

Goalkeepers - Emille Baron (SuperSport United), Moeneeb Josephs (Orlando Pirates)

Defenders - Siboniso Gaxa, Siyanda Xulu (both Mamelodi Sundowns), Bongani Khumalo, Morgan Gould (both SuperSport United), Rooi Mahamutsa, Lucas Thwala (both Orlando Pirates), Siyabonga Sangweni (Lamontville Golden Arrows)

Midfielders - Ruben Cloete (Free State Stars), Thanduyise Khuboni (Arrows), Daine Klate, Siyabonga Nkosi (both SuperSport United), Siphiwe Tshabalala, Reneilwe Letsholonyane (both Kaizer Chiefs), Benson Mhlongo, Gert Schalkwyk (both Pirates), Clifford Ngobeni (Ajax Cape Town)

Forwards - Richard Henyekane (Arrows), Katlego Mphela, Mabhuti Khenyeza (both Sundowns) and Sthembiso Ngcobo (Free State Stars).

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