Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki has included veteran Black Leopards defender Thabo Matlaba and Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune in his squad of 25 players to face Sao Tome e Principe in back-to-back 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Matlaba, who is 32, is a shock including as he last played for Bafana in 2016 against Senegal in a World Cup qualifier.
“Thabo Matlaba is a replacement for Thapelo Morena. They have similar qualities. He has also shown leadership at Leopards,” said Ntseki on Thursday at the Bafana squad announcement in Johannesburg, SAFA House.
Despite not seeing much action at Chiefs, Khune was also called up by Ntseki. The ‘Amakhosi’ goalkeeper has only played four times in all competitions this season.
“Itumeleng Khune is in the squad. We were at [Kaizer] Chiefs with the doctor and we saw him in intense training and were very happy with what we saw. Even though we had already selected him before we went to Chiefs training,” added the Bafana coach.
“We have selected 25 players for this match. The players were chosen by all SAFA coaches. On Monday when we sat, we had 50 players but had to cut it down. That means we have 5 players for each position, in case something happens.”
Bafana will host Sao Tome e Principe at FNB Stadium in the first leg – either on Friday, 27 March or Saturday, 28 March 2020. The exact date will be confirmed by CAF in due course.
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For the return leg, South Africa will travel to Sao Tome on Saturday, 28 March with their encounter against Sao Tome e Principe to be played on Tuesday (31 March).
The Bafana coach has made nine changes to the squad that played against Ghana and Sudan in the last qualifiers in November last year.
Goakeepers: Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs), Ronwen Williams (SuperSport United), Brandon Petersen (Bidvest Wits)
Defenders: Erick Mathoho, Reeve Frosler (Kaizer Chiefs), Buhle Mkhwanazi, Thulani Hlatshwayo, Sifiso Hlanti (Bidvest Wits), Gladwyn Shitolo (Golden Arrows), Innocent Maela (Orlando Pirates), Mosa Lebusa (Sundowns), Thabo Matlaba (Black Leopards)
Midfielders: Andile Jali, Themba Zwane (Mamelodi Sundowns), George Maluleka, Lebogang Manyama (Kaizer Chiefs), Dean Furman, Teboho Mokoena (SuperSport United), Lebogang Phiri (Guigamp), Thembinkosi Lorch (Pirates), Percy Tau (Club Brugge), Thulani Serero (Al Jazira)
Strikers: Lebo Mothiba (Strasbourg), Bradley Grobler (SuperSport United), Thabiso Kutumela (Maritzburg United)
By FARPost Reporter