Johannesburg - Bafana Bafana have been dealt another blow with four more players withdrawing from the national squad to take part in the Cosafa Cup tournament in Zambia.
The fresh alterations to the squad mean coach Gordon Igesund has had to make a total of 13 changes to the original list of 20 players selected to do duty for South Africa at the southern region tournament. They open their campaign in a quarterfinal fixture next weekend.
Musa Bilankulu of Wits was replaced by Platinum Stars captain Vuyo Mere on Friday, Lance Davids from Ajax Cape Town made way for Edward Manqele of Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs’ Mandla Masango was included in place of Luyolo Nomandela of Free State Stars, and Mzikayise Mashaba of Wits was called up as a replacement for William Twala of Orlando Pirates (formerly Chippa United).
Bafana media officer Matlhomola Morake said three of the players - Bilankulu, Twala and Davids - withdrew as their clubs said they were returning from injuries.
"Nomandela is injured, and the other three, the clubs said the players were coming back from injury so they were deemed unfit," said Morake.
Igesund was forced to make nine changes to his original squad earlier in the week after clubs opted not to release players.
Kaizer Chiefs had five players selected but they were later withdrawn, while the SuperSport United duo of Ronwen Williams and striker Kermit Erasmus, Bloemfontein Celtic defender Thabo Nthethe, who was to captain the squad, and Mamelodi Sundowns defender Tebogo Langerman were also removed.
Igesund said they were facing a stiff challenge in Zambia with an understrength team.
“We need to be competitive there," said Igesund.
"There were so many players pulling out for whatever reasons and so many not available so it is becoming very tough."
Goalkeepers: Siyabonga Mpontshane, Wayne Sandilands.
Defenders: Bevan Fransman, Thulani Hlatshwayo, Sibusiso Khumalo, Vuyo Mere, Lehlohonolo Nomyane, Buhle Mkhwanazi, Tshepo Gumede.
Midfielders: Mandla Masango, Lerato Chabangu, Sibusiso Msomi, Hlompho Kekana, Edward Manqele, Jabu Shongwe, Ruzaigh Gamildien.
Strikers: Katlego Mashego, Mzikayise Mashaba, Lebogang Manyama, Thabani Mthembu.