Bafana Bafana head coach Gordon Igesund has announced a 23-man squad to face the Central African Republic (CAR) in a 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying match.
South Africa resumes the “Road to Brazil” campaign with a crunch match against the Central African opponents that will be played on Saturday, 23 March 2013 at the Cape Town Stadium. Kick-off 20h15.
“This is a huge match for us. We are in a position where we should not be because I believe at this stage of the competition we should have been top of the Group. We need to win this one to keep ourselves in the race; that is why I have gone for a very offensive team. Hopefully, we can resume this campaign on a good note. There is no room for errors,” said Igesund.
The Bafana Bafana mentor has made five changes to the squad that played in the AFCON 2013 tournament, with defenders Siboniso Gaxa and captain Bongani Khumalo making way for Russia-based Siyanda Xulu and Morgan Gould of Kaizer Chiefs.
Belgium-based Daylon Claasen makes a return after a long lay-off and is joined in the squad by Dino Ndlovu who plays in Israel and Daine Klate of Orlando Pirates. Thulani Serero, Katlego Mphela and the injured Lehlohonolo Majoro have also failed to make the cut.
“As you can see, I did not make too many changes because I believe in continuity. We need to continue from where we left off in the Afcon tournament. I still believe we have a good chance of qualifying for Brazil in 2014, provided we win our upcoming match and go and do well in the two away matches,” added Igesund.
The coach has also included a 24th player in the squad, Supersport United goalkeeper Ronwen Williams to join the team during camp to learn. The 21-year-old will not be selected to play against CAR.
“I think it is very important for us to start identifying the younger players that will be the stars of 2018 World Cup, so it’s crucial that I take this opportunity to call up one or two of these youngsters to join the national team on a regular basis to be part of the set-up, to feel the environment, get used to the situation and slowly introduce them to the action,” said the coach.
“Ronwen has been playing very well, he is still a youngster though, but if you bring him into the national team fold and he will gain invaluable experience. There are other several youngsters who I am looking at and will also be invited to Bafana Bafana just for them to get used to the set-up and for me and my technical team to have a closer look at them. Come 2018 at least 20 players in the squad must come from our junior national teams – U-17, U-20 and U-23 – so the philosophy is the same. We need not lose out on our talent.”