Bafana squad named for USA
Johannesburg - Bafana Bafana head coach Pitso Mosimane, on Wednesday rang the changes when he named a new-look squad to play the United States in the annual Nelson Mandela Challenge at the Cape Town Stadium on November 17.
Kick-off is at 21:30.
Mosimane has made eight changes to the side which heroically drew 0-0 against Sierra Leone in the Freetown cabbage patch in their 2012 African Nations Cup qualifier last month.
There are three new caps in the Mamelodi Sundowns duo of Siyanda Xulu and Matthew Pattison, with Leeds United striker Davide Somma getting his first call-up.
Mosimane has rested his captain Aaron Mokoena, Russian based midfielder Macbeth Sibaya, while Sundowns striker Katlego Mphela and SuperSport United defender Bongani Khumalo, are injured.
Somma, 25, was born in Johannesburg, but moved the United States when he was 12 and plays in the English Championship for Leeds United.
Everton midfield star Steven Pienaar, will captain Bafana for the first time in place of Portsmouth defender Mokoena.
Somma comes in for Mphela, but Mosimane will not be putting him under pressure in his first game for his country. But he wants to increase the competition for places in attack.
Mosimane is realistic and is not expecting Somma to solve his goal scoring problems overnight.
"This is the ideal chance to blood new players and give those who have been loyal and were getting only 10-15 minutes for Bafana a chance to show me they deserve more," said Mosimane. "I am happy to bring in Somma who I spoke to on Tuesday and he is keen to play for Bafana. It will not be easy for him in his first game, so we must be patient. But he deserves his chance."
Pattison gets a welcome call-up. The Downs midfield anchorman replaces Sibaya and has been the spine of Downs since he joined them at the start of last season.
He played for Newcastle United in the English Premiership and Norwich City in the Championship, before joining the Brazilians and his call-up was long overdue.
Mosimane denied bowing to media pressure to include the hard running defensive midfielder.
"I select players because they deserve to be called up. Pattison has been in the squad before and I believe he has a future with Bafana," said Mosimane.
The 19-year-old Xulu is another welcome addition to the squad. He has been on trial with Arsenal and is another player Mosimane has earmarked for the future.
"My goal is to qualify for the 2012 and 2015 Afcon finals and the big one the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. I need to look at fringe players and youngsters who are knocking on the door."
Mosimane admitted he was not keen to make so many changes.
"I would have preferred to stick with the continuity and the flow I have build up since I took chance (in August), but I have no choice as this is the time to look at what we have in reserve," said the Bafana coach.
Mosimane also believes the United States will be a tougher side to beat than Ghana. In his first game in charge Mosimane guided Bafana to a heart stopping 1-0 win over the World Cup quarter-finalists at the FNB Stadium in September.
"The US are ranked 25th in the world. They do not have a lot of star players, but their strength is teamwork and tactical discipline," explained Mosimane.
"Most of the players play in England and other top European leagues. They will be a tougher nut to crack than Ghana."
The US are no strangers to South Africa. They played previously in the Nelson Mandel Challenge at Ellis Park, and were runners up in last year’s Confederations Cup and played at this year’s World Cup finals.
SA Football Association director of communication, Mario Sanyane, said the reason for the 21:30 kick-off was because the match will be screened live world wide on sports channel ESPN.
The main beneficiaries of the match will be the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.
Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs), Moeneeb Josephs (Orlando Pirates)
Morgan Gould, SuperSport United), Siboniso Gaxa (Lierse, Belgium), Tsepo Masilela (Maccabi Haifa, Israel), Siyabonga Sangweni (Golden Arrows), Anele Ngconca (Racing Genk, Belgium), Bevan Fransman (Hapoel Tel Aviv, Israel), Siyanda Xulu (Mamelodi Sundowns), Keegan Ritchie (Moroka Swallows)
Teko Modise, Andile Jali (both Pirates), Siphiwe Tshabalala, Reneilwe Letsholonyane (both Chiefs), Steven Pienaar (Everton, England), Thanduyise Khuboni (Arrows), Daylon Claasen (Lierse, Belgium), Matthew Pattison (Sundowns), Kagisho Dikgacoi (Fulham, England)
Sthembiso Ngcobo (Chiefs), Kermit Erasmus (SuperSport United), Davide Somma (Leeds United, England), Bernard Parker (FC Twente, Holland)