S Africa call up duo as replacements

Thabiso Kutumela has joined his Bafana Bafana teammates in Nelspruit after he was called upon to replace the injured Prince Nxumalo of Ajax Cape Town

Kutumela of Orlando Pirates arrived in Mpumalanga on Monday night (29 August). He was part of the South African u23 Men’s National Team that recently went to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Chippa United’s Diamond Thopola is expected today (Tuesday, 30 August) to replace Rivaldo Coetzee who has been withdrawn from the squad due to illness.

Thopola, who received his maiden call up when he was included in Bafana Bafana squad that faced Gambia in June this year, will arrive together with the overseas-basaed pair of Andle Jali (Belgium) and Tokelo Rantie (Turkey).

The arrival of the trio will complete Ephraim Mashaba’s 25-man squad that will be preparing for the two clashes against Mauritania and Egypt.

South Africa wraps up the 2017 Gabon Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers when they face Mauritania on Friday, 2 September at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.

They will then travel back to Johannesburg to play the Pharaohs of Egypt in the 2016 Nelson Mandela Challenge on Tuesday, 6 September at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto.

Both matches kick off at 19h05.

Mashaba says he wants to use as many players as possible for these two matches, while also looking for results.

“Our mandate when we took over we said we are building a side for 2022. The team that went to the Olympics, won the COSAFA Cup in Namibia, and I was in charge of that team assited by the caoch of u23 and u20, so we are on that mission. We will see all these players, even the u17s and we are also earmarking some of the boys who were playing in the u19 tournament in Durban recently,” said Mashaba.

“We will try and use all the players in this camp for the matches against Mauritania and Egypt as we want all of them to get some action.”

Mashaba added that while they are about building, they also need to get some results.

“We are with the people, they are expecting results and so are we – because results are what it is about, but at the same time we have to give these youngsters a chance to blend in well. Development takes time,” added the Bafana Bafana mentor.

South Africa will have two training sessions at the Kanyamazane Stadium at 10h00 and 18h00.