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Football | Bafana Bafana

Pitso sorry for January rant



Bafana Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane apologised to the media on Thursday for his attack on the press in January which left many in the audience bemused.

Mosimane was addressing the press at the announcement of a squad to play against Senegal in an international friendly next Wednesday at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

Orlando Pirates' players were excluded from selection as they travel to Angola for the return leg of their Caf African Champions League encounter against Recreativo do Libolo.

"We have decided to exclude Pirates players because they will be playing in Angola three days after our game," Mosimane said in Durban on Thursday after naming his 23-man squad for the clash.

Pirates players were not considered so they could focus on their continental commitment, having lost the first leg 3-1 at home.

"We have to support them because it is a national campaign. We know what happened in South Africa when they won the league in 1996," he said.

Mosimane announced first call-ups for Swedish-based midfielder May Mahlangu and in-form Free State Stars' nippy forward Edward Manqele.

Another uncapped addition was AmaZulu midfield strongman Thami Sangweni, whose older brother, Siyabonga, was not selected as he travels with Pirates to Angola.

There were recalls for Santos' central defender Wayne Arendse and the Mamelodi Sundowns duo of left-back Punch Masenamela and forward Lebohang Mokoena.

The Kaizer Chiefs striking pair of Bernard Parker and Lehlohonolo Majoro were dropped after unconvincing displays in national colours over the past year.

Bafana vice-captain Siphiwe Tshabalala and midfielder Reneilwe Letsholonyane were not considered due to injury. The side's captain Steven Pienaar returns a rejuvenated player after battling a series of injuries.

Back at Everton, where he is on loan from Tottenham Hotspur in the English Premiership, the 30-year-old is starting to find best form again.

Midfield anchor Kagiso Dikgacoi, who plies his trade at Crystal Palace in the English league, also returns from injury. Mosimane took the opportunity to apologise for his emotional tirade against the media in January after Bafana drew 1-1 against Ghana in Rustenburg.

He said the manner in which he responded to reports was caused by stress after the challenges he encountered preparing for the practice fixtures against both Zambia and the Ghanians.

"I need to clarify what happened," said Mosimane. "I should not have generalised because there were some journalists who wrote positive stories.

"How many times have you guys written an obituary for me? How many times? Everybody wrote an obituary for us before we started. Everybody saw us being slaughtered.

"Everybody wrote, 'they turned the game into practice matches, they're afraid, they're scared'."

The squad assembles for camp on Sunday night and are expected in Durban on Monday morning.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Itumeleng Khune, Wayne Sandilands

Defenders: Morgan Gould, Eric Mathoho, Wayne Arendse, Punch Masenamela,Tsepo Masilela, Bongani Khumalo, Siboniso Gaxa, Anele Ngconga

Midfielders: Thanduyise Khuboni,Thamsanqa Sangweni, George Maluleka, Teko Modise, Kagiso Dikgacoi, May Mahlangu, Daylon Claasen, Steven Pienaar,Thulani Serero

Strikers: Katlego Mphela, Siyabonga Nontshinga, Lebohang Mokoena, Edward Manqele.

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