SA U-23's down to bare bones
Johannesburg - A make-shift national Under-23 side will leave for Algeria on Wednesday night to honour two friendly fixtures against their hosts.
Coach Shakes Mashaba has admitted that the mood in the camp is “gloomy” after a number of players were withdrawn from his squad by their PSL clubs.
This comes as a war of words developed between the PSL and SAFA over just whose fault the miscommunication is that left a number of teams in the dark over the call-up of their players.
Mashaba will take 17 players to Algeria for the friendly games to be played on Saturday and next Tuesday as preparation for the CAFUnder-23 Championships to be held in Morocco from November 26.
That tournament will be used to determine which teams from Africa will compete at the 2012 London Olympics, though South Africa’s chance seem to be fading fast with the shambolic nature of their preparations.
Mashaba travels to North Africa with just four recognised defenders in his group, though Phumelele Bhengu, who he prefers to use as a striker, can also fill in at right-back.
Indeed, with five strikers named in the group, that might well happen.
Those PSL players with notable experience who have been released to play are defender Buhle Mkhwanazi (Bloemfontein Celtic), midfielders Thandani Ntshumayelo (SuperSport United), Sibusiso Vilakazi (Wits), Thami Sangweni (AmaZulu), Sameheeg Doutie (Orlando Pirates) and Mandla Masango (Kaizer Chiefs), and striker Bongani Ndulula (Orlando Pirates).
Mamelodi Sundowns issued a statement on Thursday explaining that they had withdrawn Ramahlwe Mphahlele, Themba Zwane and Jabulani Shongwe, in part because the club was taking part in the OR Tambo Soccer Challenge, an exhibition tournament in Rustenburg this weekend.
Squad to travel to Algeria:
Goalkeepers: Boafelo Pule (SuperSport United), Sage Lottering (Moroka Swallows)
Defenders: Siyabonga Zulu (Blackburn Rovers), Sibusiso Mxoyana (Orlando Pirates), Buhle Mkhwanazi (Bloemfontein Celtic), Doctor Mampuru (Mamelodi Sundowns)
Midfielders: Thandani Ntshumayelo (SuperSport United), Sibusiso Vilakazi (BidVest Wits), Thami Sangweni (AmaZulu), Sameheeg Doutie (Orlando Pirates), Mandla Masango (Kaizer Chiefs), Raymond Monama (Black Leopards)
Strikers: Phumelele Bhengu (Mpumalanga Black Aces), Rodney Ramagalela (Black Leopards), Thokozani Sekotlong (University of Pretoria), Sphamandla Sangweni (Mpumalanga Black Aces) and Bongani Ndulula (Orlando Pirates)