Bafana Bafana

Bafana face Mauritius without most top players

2015-06-19 18:00
Brilliant Khuzwayo (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - South Africa will begin their African Nations Championship campaign against Mauritius on Saturday, but do so without a host of first-choice players.

Bafana Bafana's preparations ahead of this weekend's Dobsonville Stadium encounter took a major blow after 12 of the 23-man squad were withdrawn by their clubs on Thursday.

The likes of Brilliant Khuzwayo (Kaizer Chiefs), Patrick Phungwayo, Thabo Matlaba and Oupa Manyisa (all Orlando Pirates), as well as Bongani Zungu (Mamelodi Sundowns) and Rivaldo Coetzee (Ajax Cape Town), have all headed back to their employers.

That means head coach Shakes Mashaba faces a frantic dash to restock his options ahead of their preliminary round clash, with Jomo Cosmos' Thapelo Monare the only player to so far have been called up as a replacement.

South Africa will be hoping to remain on the victory trail, having ended a six-match winless run with a 2-1 success over Angola on Tuesday, having previously played out three successive goalless draws.

Mauritius, meanwhile, head into the match on the back of a 7-1 thrashing at the hands of Ghana in their opening 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier last weekend, and will be desperate to make up for their dour showing against the Black Stars.

The Islanders have a squad made up entirely of semi-professional and amateur players, with Andy Sophie one of the stand-out members, having netted the only goal against Ghana last week.

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