Bafana face harsh conditions
Johannesburg - Bafana Bafana are up for a tough fight in expected harsh conditions in their crucial 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Niger in Niamey next week.
That was the analysis from national head coach Pitso Mosimane on Thursday after he named a 24-man squad for the match which included experienced midfielder Teko Modise and goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs, who were both recalled.
Mosimane's squad is depleted with injuries to key players, including midfielders Steven Pienaar, Reneilwe Letsholonyane and Kagiso Dikgacoi, and striker Davide Somma.
"We are facing a team that have won all their home games - a team that also believe, if they can beat Sierra Leone and Egypt at home, they can beat Bafana," said Mosimane.
The coach added that Niger had postponed their domestic league to hold a three-week training camp in preparation for the match.
Mosimane was confident with his group, despite missing key components, after experiencing the same concerns ahead of South Africa's goalless draw against Egypt in Cairo in June.
"We have brought back two experienced players who understand the sort of conditions we will likely encounter, and we think they can help us," he said.
"It was the same thing in Cairo where we were missing some of our key players, but the players raised their hands up and said, 'coach we can do it'."
Mosimane also named three uncapped players in midfielder Oupa Manyisa, defender Eric Mathoho and in-form Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Musa Nyatama who received his first call-up.
After four rounds of matches, Bafana top their group with eight points.
Niger are second with six points, while Sierra Leone, on five points, have a mathematical chance of going through. Egypt, with two points, have no chance of progressing.
If South Africa beat Niger, and Egypt draw with, or beat, Sierra Leone that same weekend, then Bafana will qualify for next year's continental tournament in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
"It is important to show that Bafana can get an win away," Mosimane said.
"The objective is to win because we need to maintain our consistency.
"We all know that if we have 11 points, no one can get more than that in the group.
"The last thing we want is to leave it late for our final match at home to Sierra Leone next month."
Bafana Bafana squad:
Goalkeepers: Itumeleng Khune, Moeneeb Josephs, Wayne Sandilands.
Defenders: Tsepo Masilela, Morgan Gould, Bongani Khumalo, Siyabonga Sangweni, Anele Ngcongca, Siboniso Gaxa, Happy Jele, Eric Mathoho.
Midfielders: Siphiwe Tshabalala, Andile Jali, Thanduyise Khuboni, Hlompho Kekana, Daylon Claasen, Teko Modise, Tlou Segolela, Oupa Manyisa, Musa Nyatama.
Strikers: Bernard Parker, Katlego Mphela, Lehlohonolo Majoro, Thulani Serero.