Shakes explains Bafana squad

Mashaba today announced his squad, which notably included former national captain Itumeleng Khune and foreign-based stars Thulani Serero, Ayanda Patosi, Kamohelo Mokotjo and May Mahlangu.

Bafana Bafana will tackle Swaziland in Mbabane on March 25 (kick-off: 19h00) before hosting the Super Eagles at Mbombela Stadium four days later (ko: 15h00).

Mashaba said: "These are very important matches, even the way they are structured because if you remember well when we played the 2015 Afcon qualifiers they were set like this. And soon we will be going back to the qualifiers again so this is a good exercise for us as it prepares us well.

“Secondly we have always said that competition is about participation, so we need to participate in order to go and compete. Thirdly it gives us an opportunity to widen our base for selection because we will use some players for the Swaziland match while some for the Nigeria match, so I think the more games we play the better.

“Our main task is to build a new team, a team that will bring results. I know many will say we are playing Swaziland they are weak, but we have to be careful because many countries are regrouping. As we are going to Swaziland we should not forget that any team that plays South Africa wants to win.

“As for Nigeria we know they are tough, arrogant and you can never be arrogant when you are not confident. So we have to go and compete, not just tactically, but also mentally and physically. Let’s also not forget they might come here spitting fire because we denied them a chance to go to Afcon, so it is going to be a very tough encounter.”

Meanwhile, Mashaba has invited Sifiso Nkosi, Bafana Dlamini and Tshepo Mokhabi from the Castle Lager Football Academy initiative to be part of the Bafana camp as a learning exercise.

“This is in line with our development plans. We are talking about preparing for the future where we would like to see the younger players taking part in the Afcon tournaments and in the World Cup. The presence of these five players will lead us to that direction, more so because they should be the cream of the crop,” said Mashaba.

“We will be very happy to work with them, and who knows we might find gems there and rope them into the team or they could return in a different role, as Bafana Bafana players in the near future. And we would also like to take this opportunity to thank Castle Lager for their involvement in this project, this is something to be proud of.” 

Bafana will assemble for a camp on Sunday night in Johannesburg before driving down to Swaziland the next morning.

On March 26 Bafana will head to Mbombela to continue their preparations for the Nigeria clash.

The team returns to Johannesburg on March 30.