Five players on Bafana radar

Stuart Baxter named a strong 25-man squad for the upcoming, back-to-back 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification clashes against Cape Verde next month, but these five players are potential candidates that should be on the Bafana radar.

Thabang Monare

The industrious centre-mid is arguably one of the most consistent in the country, commanding his place in the Bidvest Wits starting line-up despite stiff competition. Nominated for the Absa Premiership midfielder of the season award in 2016/17, Monare is certainly knocking on the door of the national team, but it is perhaps his lack of experience at international level that puts him at a disadvantage when it comes to his selection ahead of the likes of Hlompho Kekana, Andile Jali, Dean Furman and Bongani Zungu.

Tshepo Gumede

Gumede has been a key figure for Cape Town City since arriving from Orlando Pirates at the start of last season. He played all but three of The Citizens matches in all competitions last term and, alongside Robyn Johannes, has yet to concede in two games this season. Gumede has five Bafana caps to his name and, should he continue his great form, will be giving Stuart Baxter a migraine on who to drop for the 26-year-old centre-back.

Teboho Mokoena

The Amajita midfielder has been making waves since his rise to first team football at SuperSport United last season. Mokoena was handed his professional debut by Baxter himself, coming on for the final eight minutes in a 4-1 win over Highlands Park last year, and showed good progress in his 12 appearances after that. He was also recently handed his Bafana debut in a 2018 CHAN qualifier against Botswana. With age on his side, it's just a matter of time before the 20-year-old gets a taste of a competitive national team camp, as Baxter builds towards 'Vision 2022'.

Lebogang Phiri

Phiri has made a smooth transition to the French Ligue 1, having joined EA Guingamp on a free transfer from Danish side Brondby in July. Playing in a more competitive league, and having already come up against top international players such as Neymar and Wesley Sneijder, is sure to raise his game. The 22-year-old only has one cap to his name thus far, but could be a key figure in years to come.

Dino Ndlovu

Ndlovu's omission has been questioned over the last few months, primarily due to his scoring form with Azerbaijan outfit Qarabag. The 27-year-old last season scored 10 goals in 23 league starts, and has started the 2017/18 season in a similar fashion with four goals in six appearances thus far, including three in five UEFA Chamipions League qualification clashes. Interestingly Ndlovu is one of the few players from the 2009 Under-20 FIFA World Cup squad not included in Baxter's current side, with Daylon Claasen and Thulani Serero having returned to the setup as well.