PSL fixtures to be reshuffled
Gordon Igesund, Dennis Mumble and Danny Jordaan (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - SAFA president Danny Jordaan said another fixture shuffle has been agreed upon by the national body and the Premier Soccer League (PSL), as a result of Bafana Bafana's participation in the African Nations Championship (Chan) tournament in January.
"If you look at the Chan fixture lists, you will see there is a break between January 19 and January 26 and, therefore, the 23rd of January is in that break of Chan," Jordaan said on Monday at the announcement 23-man Bafana Bafana squad for the tournament in Johannesburg.
Last week, the PSL confirmed a local derby, between Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs would take place in the middle of the Chan event.
On Monday, however, following further meetings between Safa and the PSL, it was a agreed the fixture, originally scheduled for January 28, would be brought forward five days to January 23.
Bafana would play their last group fixture on January 19 and, should they make it through to the knockout stages, they would be required to play on either January 25 or 26.
Igesund named 11 players from Chiefs and Sundowns, and those involved in the Gauteng derby tie would be allowed to return to their clubs to play the crucial league encounter and return to the Bafana set-up.
Meanwhile, four other Premiership fixtures, scheduled during the Chan tournament, have remained unchanged and would go ahead as planned.
Orlando Pirates were scheduled to play SuperSport United on January 18, just seven days after the start of Chan, before tackling AmaZulu away from home, also on January 23.
As a result Igesund did not name any Pirates players in his team after a compromise was reached between SAFA and the PSL on which players to release for the tournament.
The continental event is exclusive to players plying their trade in the domestic leagues only.
Igesund admitted it had been a frustrating period for the Bafana technical team in confirming their squad, owing to the uncertainty surrounding the PSL fixtures.
"The last few weeks have been very challenging," Igesund said before reading the names of his team.
"We've worked around the clock as a team, as a unit, trying to get the best possible solutions for everybody, where we can go do well in the Chan tournament.
"We've finally got a squad together. It's very important for us to understand that any match the senior national team plays, is very important."
South Africa were drawn to face Mozambique in the opening match of Chan, with Nigeria and Mali completing a tough group A.
The tournament gets underway on January 11, with Cape Town, Bloemfontein, and Polokwane hosting the event which runs until February 1.
Bafana Bafana squad:
Goalkeepers: Itumeleng Khune, Moeneeb Josephs, Siyabonga Mpontshane
Defenders: Thabo Nthethe, Tefu Mashamaite, Buhle Mkhwanazi, Kwanda Mngonyama, Tsepo Masilela, Tebogo Langerman, Vuyo Mere, Bryce Moon, Tshepo Gumede
Midfielders: Hlompho Kekana, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Lerato Chabangu, Siphiwe Tshabalala, Sibusiso Vilakazi, Jabu Shongwe, Ryan Chapman, Lindokuhle Mbatha
Strikers: Bernard Parker, Katlego Mashego, Edward Manqele