Cape Town Bafana Bafana coach Ephraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba has announced a 25-man squad to face Angola in back-to-back clashes for Round 2 of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia qualifiers.
The first clash will be the away leg, to be played on Friday, November 13 at the Ombaka National Stadium in Benguela, Angola and kicks off at 15:30 (16:30 SA time).
According to SAFA website, Bafana Bafana will then host Angola four days later (Tuesday, November 17) in Durban at the Moses Mabhida Stadium and that encounter starts at 19:00.
“These are very crucial matches and we are all aware that if we lose here we are out, but with the team that we have selected, I am confident that we will get positive results,” said Mashaba
“The most important thing is to start well in Benguela – get some goals and come back home to finish off.
“Playing away or home first is not an issue, but we have to ensure we win away and at home we consolidate that victory with a goal or two.
Mashaba has recalled the bulk of the squad that did duty in the recent tour of Central America where they defeated Costa Rica 1-0 and drew 1-1 with Honduras.
“I saw the boys against those two nations; they played very well despite us not having our entire strike force.
“Now that we have our strikers back, that alone gives us confidence to pull through. The purpose of going to Costa Rica and Honduras was mainly to prepare for these two qualifiers against Angola, and the experience gained there will come in handy.
“I would just like to see us continuing where we left off from that trip,” added Mashaba.
South Africa and Angola met recently in two CHAN qualifiers with each side winning one match, but the Bafana Bafana mentor knows this is a different ball game.
In 10 meetings since 1996, Bafana Bafana have only lost once to Angola – in the CHAN qualifiers - with three matches drawn and winning the rest.
“Stats remain stats but they give you confidence going into a match though it’s not a guarantee that you can repeat that. In fact, they put you under pressure to continue doing well. Angola are a very good side and cannot be taken lightly, and we saw that when we defeated them in Cape Town earlier this year,” said Mashaba.
Angola is ranked 97th in the world and 26th on the continent, compared to South Africa 73rd and 17th respectively.
Bafana Bafana will assemble for camp on Sunday, 8 November.
Bafana Bafana squad:
Goalkeepers: Itumeleng Khune, Jackson Mabokgwane, Ronwen Williams.
Defenders: Siyabonga Nhlapo, Lehlohonolo Nonyane, Anele Ngcongca, Thabo Matlaba, Clayton Daniels, Eric Mathoho, Rivaldo Coetzee, Thulani Hlatshwayo.
Midfielders: Andile Jali, Kamohelo Mokotjo, Phumlani Ntshangase, Bongani Zungu, George Lebese, Dean Furman, Mpho Makola, Mandla Masango, Themba Zwane.
Strikers: Thamsanqa Gabuza, Thulani Serero, Sibusiso Vilakazi, Tokelo Rantie, Dino Ndlovu.