Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund has announced an 18-man squad to play international friendly matches against Australia and New Zealand next month.
South Africa will face 2014 FIFA World Cup-bound Australia on Monday, 26 May in Sydney at the ANZ Stadium at 19h30 Australian time (11h30 South African Time).
This will be followed by the clash against New Zealand four days later (Friday, 30 May) at 19h30 New Zealand Time – 09h30 South Africa Time in Auckland at the Mt Smart Stadium.
“These matches are an integral part of the Association’s vision to have Bafana Bafana play against some of the top sides in the world. For us to have a strong Bafana Bafana we will have to face these big footballing nations. We have already played the likes of Spain and Brazil, and we have lined more high profile games which we will unveil with time,” said SAFA President Dr Danny Jordaan.
Bafana Bafana and The All Whites (New Zealand) last met in 2009 in the FIFA Confederations Cup which South Africa hosted. The home side won 2-0 in a match played in Rustenburg. The last clash with the Socceroos (Australia) ended in a 2-2 stalemate in London in 2008. Australia is using this match to finalise their preparations for the World Cup.
“I believe I have selected players capable of doing us proud Down Under in the two matches. We are also happy to have been given the opportunity to assist Australia in their preparations for the 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament in Brazil. This is a chance we could not miss. We hope our match will be of great assistance,” said Igesund.
“As these matches do not fall under the FIFA calendar dates, I hope we will get all the players that we would like to have for the two clashes.”
The squad assembles on Monday, 19 May 2014 at the Tsogo Sun Hotel OR Tambo International Airport.
Bafana Bafana will have two training sessions (Tuesday, 20 May and Wednesday, 21 May) before departure for Sydney, Australia on Thursday afternoon (22 May). The training sessions will be held at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto. Bafana Bafana returns to South Africa on Monday, 1 June.
Bafana Bafana Squad is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Itumeleng Khune, Ronwen Williams.
Defenders: Anelel Ngcongca, Thabo Nthethe, Buhle Mkhwanazi, Siyanda Xulu, Thabo Matlaba, Tsepo Masilela.
Midfielders: Kagisho Dikgacoi, Andile Jali, Bongani Zungu, Themba Zwane, Oupa Manyisa, Thulani Serero, Ayanda Patosi, Siphiwe Tshabalala.
Strikers: Bernard Parker, Tokelo Rantie.