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Football | Bafana Bafana

Gordon Igesund © Backpagepix

Teko, Jali left out; Mphela, Serero in



Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund has gone mainly for experience when he announced his 23-man Africa Cup of Nations 2013 squad on Sunday at the Southern Sun Monte Casino Hotel in Fourways, Johannesburg.

The tournament, which will be hosted in South Africa, runs from 19 January to 10 February 2013. The squad comprises of players who have been part of his national team set-up in the last six months.

Goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune retains his place alongside Wayne Sandilands and Senzo Meyiwa but there is no place for Belgium-based Darren Keet.

Igesund has gone for seven defenders, Bongani Khumalo, Siyabonga Sangweni, Anele Ngcongca, Tsepo Masilela, Siboniso Gaxa, Thabo Nthethe and Thabo Matlaba, while Ricardo Nunes, Siyanda Xulu and Bevan Fransman missed the cut.

In the highly contested midfield area, the head coach has selected Kagisho Dikgacoi, Dean Furman, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Oupa Manyisa, Siphiwe Tshabalala, May Mahlangu, Thulani Serero, Lerato Chabangu and Thuso Phala.

Those left out are Thanduyise Khuboni, Teko Modise, Andile Jali, Daine Klate, Sifiso Myeni and Delron Buckley.

The firepower upfront will be provided by the foursome of Bernard Parker, Tokelo Rantie, Lehlohonolo Majoro and Katlego Mphela.

“It’s very unfortunate that I could not have all the players in the squad as CAF rules stipulate that only 23 will be needed for the tournament. No matter how much we try, we can’t please all the people in the selection process but I believe we have chosen the best that will represent this country well in Afcon 2013,” said Igesund.

“We had the best of the best in the camp, with excellent players competing against each other for positions but at the end of the day we had to cut down the squad to that stipulated by the governing body. However, those players who are not in the squad should not despair as they are all on stand-by in case of injuries.”

The head coach has thanked the South African public for their support of the national team and appealed for more support in the coming days.

“This is not my national team; I am just the driver so I would like to thank the public, including the media for their continued support of the squad that has been picked up as they represent all of us. We are now embarking on a long and difficult mission and we cannot do it alone, your support will be very crucial to see us through,” said Igesund.

“Now that the final squad has been selected, the focus is now on the tournament. Real and hard work begins for all of us. I am now able to instil my philosophy and I am confident by the time the tournament starts, I believe we will be ready and playing as a unit.”

Bongani Khumalo will captain the side.

The first assignment in the New Year for Bafana Bafana is the international friendly match against Norway at the Cape Town Stadium on 8 January 2013.

The squad will gather on 2 January in Cape Town to prepare for the Norway clash.

In the second and last practice match Bafana Bafana will face Algeria in another international friendly match at Orlando Stadium in Soweto on 12 January.

South Africa begin their Afcon 2013 campaign against Cape Verde at the National Stadium (Soccer City) on 19 January before facing Angola and Morocco in the group stages in Durban.

SA Squad:

Goalkeepers: Itemeleng Khune, Wayne Sandilands, Senzo Meyiwa

Defenders: Bongani Khumalo, Siboniso Gaxa, Siyabonga Sangweni, Anele Ngcongca, Tsepo Masilela, Thabo Nthethe, Thabo Matlaba

Midfielders: Lerato Chabangu, Thulani Serero, Kagisho Dikgacoi, Dean Furman, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Siphiwe Tshabalala, May Mahlangu, Thuso Phala, Oupa Manyisa

Strikers: Bernard Parker, Tokelo Rantie, Lehlohonolo Majoro, Katlego Mphela.

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