Few surprises in Bafana coach Stuart Baxter’s training squad
Bafana go into camp ahead of first Nations Cup match against Ivory Coast
Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter on Tuesday named a provisional 28-man squad for a training camp in Johannesburg ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Egypt.
Cape Town City striker Kermit Erasmus and Maritzburg United midfielder Fortune Makaringe were mildly surprising call-ups in an otherwise fairly standard combination for the camp from June 2-12.
Crystal Palace’s 20-year-old centreback Nikola Tavares and FC Zurich right-back Joel Untersee have also been named, taking the squad to 30 in number‚ but will only arrive pending their paperwork being confirmed in time for the camp.
The “senior” Bafana camp in Johannesburg takes place at the same time as SA compete at the Cosafa Cup in Durban in early June with a shadow SA Under-23 combination led by Olympic team coach David Notoane.
Bafana senior player Keagan Dolly was included in the Cosafa squad to get in game time after an injury-plagued season at Montpellier in France’s Ligue 1‚ and also in the Johannesburg camp.
Bafana have been drawn in a tough Group D at the Afcon — which runs from June 21 to July 19 — with Ivory Coast‚ Morocco and Namibia.
SA play their first match against Ivory Coast on June 24‚ Namibia on June 28 and Morocco on July 1. All Bafana’s matches are at Cairo’s 30‚000-seater Al Salam Stadium‚ also known as the Cairo Military Production Stadium.
The top two teams and four best third-placed finishers reach the last-16 of the new‚ expanded 24-team Nations Cup.
This is Bafana’s second qualification in the past three Afcon finals tournaments.
They reached Equatorial Guinea 2015‚ going out in the first round under Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba, who failed to qualify for Gabon 2017.
Provisional Afcon squad
Goalkeepers: Darren Keet (Bidvest Wits), Ronwen Williams (SuperSport United), Bruce Bvuma (Kaizer Chiefs)
Defenders: Daniel Cardoso (Chiefs), Rivaldo Coetzee (Sundowns), Mahlatse Mphahlele (Chiefs), Thulani Hlatshwayo (Wits), Innocent Maela (Orlando Pirates), Sifiso Hlanti (Wits), Buhle Mkhwanazi (Wits), Thamsanqa Mkhize (Cape Town City)
Midfielders: Bongani Zungu (Amiens), Hlompho Kekana (Sundowns), Dean Furman (SuperSport), Kamohelo Mokotjo (Brentford), Tiyani Mabunda (Sundowns), Thulani Serero (Vitesse), Thembinkosi Lorch (Pirates), Themba Zwane (Sundowns), Fortune Makaringe (Maritzburg United), Ben Motshwari (Pirates)
Strikers: Lebogang Mothiba (Strasbourg), Percy Tau (Union Saint-Gilloise), Lars Veldwijk (Sparta Rotterdam), Lebohang Maboe (Sundowns), Sibusiso Vilakazi (Sundowns), Kermit Erasmus (CT City)