Bafana name squad for Egypt
Johannesburg - The Israel-based defensive duo of Bevan Fransman and Tsepo Masilela were on Thursday named in Bafana Bafana's 23-man squad to play Egypt in a Group G 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Cairo on June 5.
In what will be his toughest test yet since taking over the helm last year, coach Pitso Mosimane recalled Fransman in place of injured England-based Bongani Khumalo, who is out with a broken metatarsal.
The 27-year-old Fransman, who can play in defence and midfield, has made 14 appearances at senior international level since making his debut in 2005. He has remained on the fringes of national selection and now has another chance to prove himself.
Expecting a hostile atmosphere in the 80 000 capacity National Stadium, Masilela will provide the experience needed at the back and hopefully resolve the problem with the left-back position.
Masilela suffered a knee injury late last year and is now fully recovered.
"What happened in Freetown when we played Sierra Leone last year will be the same as Cairo in terms of hostility," said Mosimane.
"With experienced players like Masilela coming in, we should be able to take the stress."
Also out injured for the clash is midfield strongman Thanduyise Khuboni who is replaced by Bloemfontein Celtic's Hlompho Kekana. He retains his place in the squad after having made his debut in last weekend's 1-0 win over Tanzania in Dar-es-Salaam.
Bafana top the group with seven points after three games and a win or draw over the Egyptians will see the Pharaohs eliminated in the qualifying process for next year's continental show-piece in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
Mosimane was cautious of the challenge his side was likely to face from the cornered African champions in their own hostile backyard.
"We are going to another territory now," said the coach.
"It will be a difficult match and we all know what this match means to them. If they don't get the victory, mathematically, they'll be out.
"Obviously, they will be at their best and, unfortunately, we'll be the ones to face them."
Also named in the squad were youngsters Punch Masenamela, a defender with Kaizer Chiefs, Bidvest Wits' offensive duo of Sifiso Myeni and Bhongolwethu Jayiya, and Kermit Erasmus from SuperSport United.
They will be part of the squad which assembles on Sunday, before departing for Rustenburg on Monday, where they will hold a training camp for a week.
Captain Steven Pienaar and Masilela are expected to arrive later because of club commitments overseas, while the Orlando Pirates trio of Andile Jali, Tlou Segolela and Happy Jele are participating in the Nedbank Cup final next Saturday.
Goalkeepers: Itumeleng Khune, Wayne Sandilands, Mbongeni Mzimela
Defenders: Morgan Gould, Bevan Fransman, Mzivukile Tom, Tsepo Masilela, Siboniso Gaxa, Anele Ngconca, Siyabonga Sangweni, Happy Jele
Midfielders: Kagiso Dikgacoi, Hlompho Kekana, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Steven Pienaar, Thulani Serero, Andile Jali, Siphiwe Tshabalala, George Maluleka, Tlou Segolela
Strikers: Bernard Parker, Davide Somma, Katlego Mphela