Bafana Bafana has Stuart Baxter has defended his decision to included Kaizer Chiefs duo Daniel Cardoso and Ramahlwe Mphahlele in his squad ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations.
Baxter announced a 30-man squad which will be cut down to 23 before the team leaves for Egypt on June 12 and features Cardoso and Mphahlele, two players who have not the best of seasons with Amakhosi.
Cardoso made 34 appearances in all competitions and helped Amakhosi to just eight clean sheets in the Absa Premiership, while Ramahlwe Mphahlele played 32 times.
Asked why he has included Cardoso in the team, Baxter said: “When you pick a squad, you want to make sure that you’ve got some good characters in the dressing room, that will their arm around people and talk and say ‘hey, don’t worry keep going’. Daniel Cardoso is that sort of person.
“He can play right back, so he is versatile. He gives us an option there. So it’s about balancing the squad, both in terms of where we can fill if we can get injuries and also in terms of his character. I think Daniel Cardoso is a very good professional. He is not the sexiest player in the PSL in terms of being easy on the eye and playing, but he is a competitive footballer.”
Baxter also explained Mphahlele’s inclusion.
“Very similar to Cardoso. We’ve got Joel [Unteresee] and Nick [Tavares] who can also play right back, and we’ve also got Thami Mkhize. If suddenly passports don’t arrive [for Unterseee and Tavares], then Rama is the experienced player that we know will not be fazed by anything.”