Mashaba announces squad to face Libya

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pretoria - Amaglug-glug coach Shakes Mashaba has announced a 19-man strong squad that will travel to Mali to face Libya on the second leg of their 2012 London Olympic Games qualifier match. 

The squad is scheduled to jet off in the early hours of Friday, 8 April.

Due to the political unrest in Libya, the qualifier will be played at a neutral venue in Bamako, Mali on Saturday, 9 April. Kick-off is at 6pm local time in Mali (8pm South African time).

The squad has been boosted by the return of Ajax Cape Town sensational midfielder Thulani Serero, who missed the first leg as he was on national duty with Bafana Bafana. 

Serero will team up with club mates George Maluleka as well Thulani Hlatshwayo. 

Defender Eric Mathoho of Bloemfontein Celtic, striker Bongani Ndulula of Orlando Pirates as well as midfielder Mandla Masango of Kaizer Chiefs will be part of the travelling party. 

Siyanda Xulu of Mamelodi Sundowns has had to withdraw due to an injury he sustained in his club's league match against Ajax on Wednesday night.

Some of the players who were in camp since Sunday have been training under the watchful eye of assistant coach David Notoane, while Mashaba has been attending the SAFA Level 3 Coaching course with several other national team coaches in Pretoria.

However, Mashaba rejoined the squad on Wednesday.

The South Africans are taking a 4-2 lead from the first leg against Libya played two weeks ago at the Sinaba Stadium in Daveyton.

The coach has had to make changes to that squad due to some players not available due to club commitments and injuries.

"I said before our first leg that there will be changes as some players will be needed by their teams, while others might be injured. But like I always say, this should not distract us from the mission at hand. We have players capable of plugging the gaps and we are confident of returning with a victory from Mali. Even though the personnel have changed, the composition, shape and spirit of the team remains the same. 

"We have conceded two goals at home, so we cannot go there and play defensive football, we have to play our attacking game but also be cautious in the process. We need to get an early goal that will kill their spirits because we can't allow them back into the match as this might work against us," he said.

Upon arrival in Bamako, the squad has scheduled a training session at the match venue, March 26 Stadium. They will return to the country on Monday, 11 April.

The selected players are goal keepers; Boalefa Pule, Brilliant Khuzwayo. Defenders: Enrico Adolph, Thamsanqa Nhlakanipho Sangweni, Mthetheleli Mxoyana, Wandisile Letlabika, Doctor Mampuru, Thulani Hlatshwayo and Eric "Tower" Mathoho. 

Midfielders are Thulani Serero, Mandla Masango, Themba Zwane, Bongani Nyathi, Letlhogonolo Masalesa, Lwazi Skosana and Andile Jali. Strikers are George Maluleka, Phumelele Bhengu and Bongani Ndulula.-BuaNews