Johannesburg - Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund
believes he has selected a 23-man squad that will make the country proud
at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament hosted by South Africa
"This is a dream team," Igesund declared at the announcement of his squad here on Sunday afternoon.
is an outstanding team, very well balanced and the team gives me
options at any moment in a game to change to a plan B or plan C.
players that I have selected have shown me that they are hungry to play
and also I must add, even the players that I have left out, it has been
the most difficult part."
Igesund sprung few surprises with his
squad, including the majority of players he has picked throughout his
tenure as Bafana coach, opting for a youthful yet experienced make-up to
"There are so many players that are just fantastic players, but unfortunately I had to leave some players out," Igesund said.
had sleepless nights. The line between being in the team and being out
of the team was so small, there were so many magnificent players.
is a very experienced team, I've gone for youth, I've got 10 players in
the squad that are 25 years and younger and I've also got some players
that have many caps for South Africa."
Igesund added that he had
selected his side based on their opponents in the group stage of the
tournament, which included Angola, Morocco and Cape Verde in group A.
"When you select a team, you need to know what you are selecting the team for," he explained.
"I am selecting this team because we have three teams (Angola, Cape Verde and Morocco) that we have to play in the first round.
on what those teams are capable of doing, where we are going to counter
them, where I think that we can be strong and I picked a team not only
based on the opposition, but one that is very well balanced."
named three goalkeepers, led by first choice Kaizer Chiefs shot-stopper
Itumeleng Khune, Wayne Sandilands and Orlando Pirates' Senzo Meyiwa.
defence, Bloemfontein Celtic's Thabo Nthethe earned a call-up at the
expense of Bevan Fransman, while Thabo Matlaba also cracked the nod.
Modise missed out on a call-up, but highly-rated Ajax Amsterdam
playmaker Thulani Serero made the final 23, along with the likes of
Amakhosi regulars Siphiwe Tshabalala and Reneilwe Letsholonyane.
is one of seven foreign-based players in the squad, including defenders
Bongani Khumalo (PAOK, Greece), Anele Ngcongca (Racing Genk, Belgium),
midfielders Dean Furman (Oldham Athletic, England), Kagisho Dikgacoi
(Crystal Palace, England) and May Mahlangu (Helsingborg, Sweden), and
striker Tokelo Rantie (Malmo FF, Sweden).
Igesund opted to leave
out Mamelodi Sundowns' Teko Modise, but included Katlego Mphela, who has
successfully recovered from injury.
Other notable omissions include Andile Jali, Ricardo Nunes, Sifiso Myeni and Daine Klate.
"Our preparations are really going to start now. Up until now we have mixed and shuffled the team around," Igesund said.
made six substitutions in each (friendly) game, the players never
really gelled together, but from January 2, I'll have all 23 players.
"I believe I have selected the cream of the crop in South African football at this point in time."
Goalkeepers: Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs), Senzo Meyiwa (Orlando Pirates), Wayne Sandilands (Mamelodi Sundowns)
Defenders: Siboniso Gaxa (Kaizer Chiefs), Bongani Khumalo (captain, PAOK Salonika), Tsepo Masilela (Kaizer Chiefs), Thabo Matlaba (Orlando Pirates), Anele Ngcongca (Racing Genk), Thabo Nthethe (Bloemfontein Celtic), Siyabonga Sangweni (Orlando Pirates)
Midfielders: Lerato Chabangu (Moroka Swallows), Kagisho Dikgacoi (Crystal Palace), Dean Furman (Oldham Athletic), Reneilwe Letsholonyane (Kaizer Chiefs), May Mahlangu (Helsingborg), Oupa Manyisa (Orlando Pirates), Thuso Phala (Platinum Stars), Thulani Serero (Ajax Amsterdam), Siphiwe Tshabalala (Kaizer Chiefs)
Strikers: Lehlohonolo Majoro (Kaizer Chiefs), Katlego Mphela (Mamelodi Sundowns), Tokelo Rantie (Malmo FF), Bernard Parker (Kaizer Chiefs).