South Africa and their neighbours will meet in the first leg on Saturday, 15 July 2017 at Francistown Stadium with a 15h30 kick-off.
The second leg will be staged at the Moruleng Stadium in Rustenburg the following weekend (Saturday, 22 July). Kick-off is at 15h00.
Baxter has retained some of the players who did duty for Bafana in the COSAFA Castle Cup – captain Masalesa, Tercious Malepe, Jamie Webber, Mario Booysen, Cole Alexander, Boalefa Pule, Riyaad Norodien, Sandile Mthethwa and Mothobi Mvala.
“But I must say upfront that we have a slight challenge with Masalesa – because he was initially contracted to an overseas club he was not considered for selection. He has since become a free agent but now he is not attached to any team, which leaves a grey area as to whether he can play for us or not. We have consulted with the authorities and we should have an answer in no time,” said Baxter.
“He spent two weeks with us for the COSAFA Cup and he can add value to the CHAN team, so if he is eligible to play we will gladly keep him in the squad but if not we will have to release him. The rules are silent on that matter so we will have to wait and see, but we don’t want a situation where we take him with us, play him and then later on we forfeit the game because we used an illegible player or even get a fine.”
Due to the good cooperation with clubs, Baxter has managed to call up a decent squad made up of the likes of Ryan Moon from Kaizer Chiefs, Siyabonga Nhlapho from Bidvest Wits, Gift Motupa from Baroka FC, Siphiwe Mnguni of Platinum Stars and Sphelele Ntshangase of Black Leopards.
“First of all we would once again like to thank the clubs for agreeing to give us players when we called on them. We are well aware that this qualifier comes at a time when most players are on holiday, or clubs have just returned for their pre-season training, and for that we are grateful,” added Baxter.
Several players that have been added to the COSAFA Cup squad are uncapped – like Moon, Mnguni, Steven Hoffman, Khulekani Kubheka, Malebogo Modise, Junaid Sait, Sipho Mbule, Dumisani Zuma, Ricardo Lourenco and Teboho Mokoena.
Four players in the squad ply their trade in the National First Division (NFD) – Mvala (Highlands Park), Ntshangase (Black Leopards), Webber and Sait (both Stellenbosch FC).
Six of the selected players were at the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Korea – Kubheka, Malepe, Modise, Mthethwa, Mbule and Mokoena, while three were at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games – Malepe, Mvala and Motupa.
The winners between South Africa and Botswana will face the victors of the clash between Swaziland and Zambia in the third round scheduled for the 11th and 18th of August.
The last nation standing will qualify for CHAN, which will take place in Kenya from 11 January to 2 February 2018.
A total of 16 teams will qualify to play in the final tournament, including Kenya who qualified automatically as hosts.
Only national team players who are playing in their country’s own domestic league will be eligible to compete in the tournament.
BAFANA BAFANA SQUAD FOR CHAN
NO. PLAYER’S NAME CLUB
1. Boalefa PULE Supersport United FC
2. Steven HOFFMAN Platinum Stars FC
3. Khulekani KUBHEKA Mamelodi Sundowns FC
4. Siyabonga NHLAPO Bidvest Wits FC
5. Malebogo MODISE Mamelodi Sundowns FC
6. Siphiwe MNGUNI Platinum Stars FC
7. Junaid SAIT Stellenbosch FC
8. Sandile MTHETHWA Orlando Pirates FC
9. Mothobi MVALA Highlands Park FC
10. Mario BOOYSEN Supersport United FC
11. Tercious MALEPE Orlando Pirates FC
12. Cole ALEXANDER Supersport United FC
13. Lehlogonolo MASALESA UNATTACHED
14. Riyaad NORODIEN Orlando Pirates FC
15. Jamie WEBBER Stellenbosch FC
16. Sphelele NTSHANGASE Black Leopards FC
17. Dumisani ZUMA Bloemfontein Celtic FC
18. Ricardo LOURENCO Orlando Pirates FC
19. Teboho MOKOENA Supersport United FC
20. Sipho MBULE Mamelodi Sundowns FC
21. Bongani NTULI Mamelodi Sundowns FC
22. Ryan MOON Kaizer Chiefs FC
23. Gift MOTUPA Baroka FC