Cape Town - Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter has selected a 25-man squad for back-to-back 2018 Soccer World Cup qualifiers against the Cape Verde Islands.
Baxter kept the bulk of the squad that defeated the Super Eagles 2-0 in Uyo, Nigeria earlier this year in the opening match of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
The Scotsman has made four changes - defender Morgan Gould, who returns to the national team after a lengthy absence, takes the place of Lorenzo Gordinho, midfielders Thulani Serero and Daylon Klaasen come in for Aubrey Ngoma and Sibusiso Vilakazi respectively, while Bradley Grobler replaces Thamsanqa Gabuza.
“It was important that we retain the bulk of the squad for the sake of continuity. We would have wanted to see some more players, but on the other hand it is crucial that we don’t tamper much with a winning side - if it ain’t broken, why fix it?,” said Baxter as quoted by the official SAFA website.
“I am confident that we will do well with this side because if you think about it, this will be a continuation of the work we did in the last camp against Nigeria - too many changes will mean all the work we did in the previous match would have been thrown away.”
South Africa are currently occupying second place in Group D with Burkina Faso leading the pack on goal difference. African giants Senegal are in third position while Cape Verde are anchored in fourth place.
A victory will do wonders for Bafana Bafana's progress to qualify automatically for the next years finals in Russia.
Baxter's charges are set to face the northwest African country on Friday, September 1 at the National Stadium in Praia.
Kick-off is at 20:30 (SA time).
The return leg will be played on Tuesday, September 5 at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
Kick-off is at 19:00.
BAFANA BAFANA SQUAD:
Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs), Darren Keet (Wits), Ronwen Williams (SuperSport United)
Ramahlwe Mphahlele (Kaizer Chiefs), Rivaldo Coetzee (Ajax Cape Town), Thulani Hlatshwayo (Wits), Eric Mathoho (Kaizer Chiefs), Morgan Gould (SuperSport United), Abbubaker Mobara (Orlando Pirates), Tebogo Langerman (Mamelodi Sundowns), Sifiso Hlanti (Wits)
Hlompho Kekana (Mamelodi Sundowns), Keagan Dolly (Montpellier, France), Andile Jali (K.V. Oostende, Belgium), Kamohelo Mokotjo (Brentford FC, England), Dean Furman (SuperSport United), Themba Zwane (Mamelodi Sundowns), Bongani Zungu (Vitória S.C, Portugal), Thulani Serero SBV Vitesse (Holland)
Percy Tau (Mamelodi Sundowns), Lebogang Manyama (Cape Town City), Kermit Erasmus (LENS, France), Tokelo Rantie (Genclerbirligi, Turkey), Bradley Grobler (SuperSport United), Daylon Claasen (Wits)