South Africa head coach, Stuart Baxter, has admitted that he has found it difficult to put together a squad for Bafana Bafana’s crucial 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying fixture against the Super Eagles following injuries to key members of his side, reports Completesportsnigeria.com.
Baxter unveiled a 23-man squad for the game billed for the FNB Stadium, Johannesburg on November 17 on Monday morning.
Baxter has had to re-arrange his squad due to injuries to several of his key players the latest being Brentford midfielder, Kamohelo Mokotjo.
Other key players set to miss this fixture are Dean Furman, Bongani Zungu, Keagan Dolly, Sibusiso Vilakazi and Bradley Grobler, who are all out with long term injuries.
“It has really been a tough task to select the team to face Nigeria without some of our regular players, but we have to soldier on. These injuries could not have come at the worst of times when we really need to collect all three points because we are well aware the importance of doing this,” Baxter told the official website of the South Africa Football Federation.
“The positive side, however, is that this gives us a chance to introduce other players into the squad, and these are players we have been monitoring, so it not like a knee-jerk reaction.
“This helps us to ensure that when we qualify for the tournament we have an even bigger pool of players to choose from. I am also confident that the players brought in will do a good job.”
Bafana Bafana beat the Super Eagles 2-0 in the reverse
fixture last year but Gernot Rohr’s men have bounced back from the setback and now top the group with nine points.
Baxter admits that their opponent will have the intention of avenging the defeat which will make the game more interesting.
“I must admit this makes the upcoming clash all the more interesting. Remember we beat them 2-0 in the first leg in their backyard, so they will come here trying to avenge that, on the other hand we want to regain the top spot which we relinquished with the draw away to Seychelles. The good thing is that qualification is still in our hands,” Baxter added.
Bafana Bafana are expected to begin preparations for the game on November 11.
The Bafana Squad For Super Eagles clash
Goalkeepers: Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs), Ronwen Williams (SuperSport United), Darren Keet (Bidvest Wits
Defenders: Ramahlwe Mphahlele (Kaizer Chiefs), Motjeka Madisha (Sundowns), Siyanda Xulu (Maritzburg), Thulani Hlatshwayo (Wits), Innocent Maela (Pirates), S’fiso Hlanti(Wits), Buhle Mkhwanazi (Wits) Thamsanqa Mkhize (CT City)
Midfielders: Vincent Pule (Pirates), Lebohang Maboe (Sundowns), Hlompho Kekana (Sundowns), Fortune Makaringe (Maritzburg), Teboho Mokoena (SuperSport), Tiyani Mabunda (Sundowns), Thulani Serero (Vitesse), Thembinkosi Lorch (Pirates)
Strikers: Lebo Mothiba (Strasbourg), Percy Tau (Royal Union), Dino Ndlovu (Zhejiang), Themba Zwane (Mamelodi Sundowns).
Source: Complete Sports Nigeria