Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki has named a youthful squad for the international friendlies against Namibia and Zambia to be played in Rustenburg later this month.
Ntseki has taken the opportunity to have a look at a number of new faces in what will be his only friendly engagements before the resumption of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, and the 2022 World Cup qualifiers next year.
But he also stressed that those experienced stars left out of his squad, such as former captain Dean Furman, and midfielders Bongani Zungu and Kamohelo Mokotjo, are by no means out of his plans.
“This exercise is all about introduction and induction. We have called up a number of youngsters to get the feel of senior national team set up and that is very critical,” Ntseki says.
“The whole idea is to merge these players so that going forward we have a huge pool in case of injuries or any other mishap. It is critical that we broaden the data base and increase the number and quality of players ready to play for Bafana Bafana. So this mixture is important as part of preparations for future assignments.”
With congested fixtures in 2021, Ntseki said it was imperative to broaden his squad hence the mixture of youth and senior players.
There is a call-up for Portugal-based Thibang Phete, who has been in excellent form for Belenenses of late, while Kaizer Chiefs right-back Reeve Frosler and Cape Town City defender Abbubaker Mobara also return.
Another City player, Thabo Nodada, has earned a recall, as has Orlando Pirates midfielder Gladwin Shitolo and SuperSport United’s Sipho Mbule.
City forward Kermit Erasmus is the most experienced of the forwards, but Percy Tau and Lebohang Manyama, who will be given a specialist attacking role, are also there.
There is a first call-up for Belgium-based forward Kurt Abrahams, who plays for Westerlo, and can play anywhere along the forward line.
Bafana will face Namibia on October 8, before taking on Zambia three days later.
South Africa squad:
Goalkeepers: Darren Keet (OH Leuven, Belgium), Ronwen Williams (SuperSport United), Ricardo Goss (Mamelodi Sundowns)
Defenders: Thibang Phete (Belenenses, Portugal), Motjeka Madisha, Mosa Lebusa (both Mamelodi Sundowns), Thulani Hlatshwayo, Innocent Maela (both Orlando Pirates), Sifiso Hlanti (Unattached), Abbubaker Mobara (Cape Town City), Reeve Frosler (Kaizer Chiefs)
Midfielders: Andile Jali, Mothobi Mvala, Themba Zwane (all Mamelodi Sundowns), Thabo Nodada (Cape Town City), Teboho Mokoena (SuperSport United), Gladwin Shitolo (Orlando Pirates), Keagan Dolly (Montpellier, France), Sipho Mbule (SuperSport United), Luther Singh (Pacos de Ferreira, Portugal)
Strikers: Kermit Erasmus (Cape Town City), Kurt Abrahams (Westerlo, Belgium), Lebohang Manyama (Kaizer Chiefs), Percy Tau (Anderlecht, Belgium), Thabiso Kutumela (Maritzburg United)