South Africa coach Stuart Baxter, says as much as he would like to win the upcoming four-nations tournament to be held in Zambia, it should not be at the expense of depriving game time to the younger players that have been called up to the national team.
Zambia will play host to a four nation-tournament involving South Africa, Zimbabwe and Angola between 21 and 24 March 2018 at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola, which Baxter will be using as preparation for his side’s Total Africa Cup of Nations Cameroon 2019 qualifiers later in the year.
Baxter announced a youthful squad that will travel to Zambia with the aim of assessing a wider pool of players as he looks at identifying a new generation of Bafana Bafana players.
“We are making a giant step of making changes. This is about development and getting new players. People must remember that this is the only senior event before resuming our AFCON qualifiers six months later against Nigeria. Are some of these players ready for Bafana? Well we don’t know but we need to be brave enough to give them a chance” said the Bafana Bafana mentor.
Should he win the tournament, Baxter will alleviate a lot of pressure from the ever-demanding South African fans who are yet to be convinced that he is the right man to take the team forward following the nation’s failure to qualify for Russia.
Winning the tournament would be a huge plus for the 63-year-old coach but not at the expense of giving younger players international experience he said.
“If you ask me about whether I would like to win the tournament, I will definitely say yes but it cannot be at the expense of not fielding these youngsters. The whole purpose of this exercise is for us to look at what the future holds and that requires us taking a risk and giving these players a run.”
Notable inclusions in the squad include Supersport United youngsters, Aubrey Modiba and Teboho Mokoena who have thrived under the club from the nation’s capital.
In-form, Maritzburg United youngster, Siphesihle Ndlovu, a favourite for Young Player of the Season, has also received his first national team call-up.
Bafana Bafana will be without the services of injured midfield kingpin, Andile Jali.
Highly-rated Orlando Pirates assistant coach, Rulani Mokoena has also been invited to camp by Baxter in a bid to give younger South African coaches national team exposure.
Goalkeepers: Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs), Darren Keet (Bidvest Wits), Brendon Peterson (Ajax Cape Town).
Defenders: Reeve Frosler (Bidvest Wits), Ramahlwe Mphahlele (Kaizer Chiefs), Thulani Hlatshwayo (Bidvest Wits) Motjeka Madisha (Mamelodi Sundowns), Daniel Cardoso (Kaizer Chiefs) Buhle Mkhwanazi (Bidvest Wits) Innocent Maela (Orlando Pirates), Sifiso Hlanti (Bidvest Wits)
Midfielder: Dean Furman (Supersport United), Siphesihle Ndlovu (Maritzburg United), Kamohelo Mokotjo (Brentfort FC – England), Teboho Mokoena (Supersport United), Bongani Zungu (Amiens FC – France), Aubrey Modiba (Supersport United), Sibusiso Vilakazi (Mamelodi Sundowns), Thembinkosi Lorch (Orlando Pirates), Keagan Dolly (Montpelllier – France), Phakamani Mahlambi (Al Ahly – Egypt), Themba Zwane (Mamelodi Sundowns)
Strikers: Percy Tau (Mamelodi Sundowns), Lebogang Mothiba (Lille FC – France), Ryan Moon (Kaizer Chiefs)
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