After three cancelled training sessions and a spate of player withdrawals, Bafana Bafana will finally get down to business when they face Mauritius in the first leg 2016 CHAN qualifier at Dobsonville Stadium this afternoon.
The national team was rocked by player withdrawals this week, with 12 of them leaving camp after SuperSport United, Kaizer Chiefs, Mamelodi Sundowns, Bidvest Wits and Ajax Cape recalled their players, leaving only 10.
Shakes Mashaba managed to call-up more players – six of them were able to attend the squad’s only training session to bring the number to 16 – just 24 hours before the clash with Mauritius.
Two more players have since arrived in camp – Madisha Modjeka of M. Tigers and Ndumiso Mabena of Platinum Stars. Wandisile Letlabika of Bloemfontein Celtic was also expected last night.
“It doesn’t matter who you play for or against, preparation is very crucial,” Mashaba says.
“Normally the day before the match we hold our practice session at the match venue where we are given about an hour, and there is not much you can do in that time, so we had to change the venue so we can have as much to train as we want.
But the flip side is that it is just 24 hours before a match so you also can’t over train – we had to try and find a balance.”
Mashaba adds: “We have to go out there and do it, even if we have 13 players we will go and play because we don’t want South African football to be in bad books.
“The fixture is there and we have to honour it. What is happening is not something one can be happy about. This is a good thing to happen so that people can know what is happening and what we are going through.”
UPDATED BAFANA SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Itumeleng Khune, Kaizer Chiefs, Jackson Mabokgwane
Defenders: Marc van Heerden, Tshepo Gumede, Kwanda Mngonyama, Sibusiso Mxoyana, Pentje Zulu, Madisha Modjeka
Midfielders: Thabang Monare, Mandla Masango, Sphelele Ntshangase, Gift Motupa, Musa Nyatama, William Twala , Wandisile Letlabika
Strikers: Vuyisile Wana, Bonginkosi Ntuli, Thamsanqa Gabuza, Ndumiso Mabena