Bafana Bafana coach, Hugo Broos, has named a final 23-man squad for next month’s back-to-back friendlies against Namibia and the Democratic Republic of Congo to be played at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto.
The coach has made five changes to the squad that played in Bafana Bafana’s last Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Morocco in June.
Striker, Lyle Foster, makes a return to the squad while France-based striker, Lebo Mothiba, Ricardo Goss, Grant Magerman and Portugal-based, Kobamelo Kodisang, are the other players included who were not in the squad for the qualifier against the Atlas Lions.
Lyle Foster was a surprise omission from the squad that played in Bafana Bafana’s AFCON qualifier against Morocco’s Atlas Lions in June.
It later emerged that the striker had an agreement with Broos that they should not include him in the squad as he had just made a move to English premiership side, Burnley, who had just gained promotion to top flight football and wanted to attend team’s pre-season camp.
Foster who scored his first English premiership goal this week against Aston Villa, is now back in the squad.
Lebo Mothiba, who was a regular in the team during Stuart Baxter’s reign, has been named along with Grant Magerman, Ricardo Goss and Kobamelo Kodisang.
Among players not called up is Sundowns duo of Thapelo Morena, Cassius Mailula, Khuliso Mudau and United States-based striker, Bongholwethu Hlongwane.
Broos says he is giving other players such as Mothiba a chance to show if they deserve to be in the team.
“Lebo was not playing in Strasbourg and this is for me an important reason to take a player because when you don’t play, you don’t have the rhythm of the game but now last season he’s started playing and scored a goal. So, this is a chance for him to show if he deserves to be in the team, he is also different from what we have.”
Bafana Bafana will play six matches between now and November with next month’s two friendlies against Namibia and the DRC to help prepare the team for the 2026 World Cup qualifiers.
But Broos also has an eye on next year’s AFCON tournament to be staged in Ivory Coast.
The Belgian mentor says he’s happy with the quality of both Namibia and the DRC as they will test his players.
“Namibia was ready to play against us and the DRC and I am very happy because they are teams at a certain level tough teams and also teams that might qualify for AFCON so it will be good games,” says Broos.
Bafana Bafana haven’t impressed in previous AFCON tournaments they have qualified for, while they have failed to qualify for others.
The team has progressed since the Belgian mentor took over the reigns two years ago and beat Africa’s number one ranked side, Morocco 2-1, in June.
Broos says it’s important the team does well at next year’s AFCON tournament.
“I don’t think there will be a problem. The players will be ready at will and it will be important that the team does well and goes beyond the group stages of the tournament.”
Bafana Bafana will play Namibia on the ninth of next month at the Orlando stadium in Soweto before hosting the DRC at the same venue three days later.
Meanwhile, SABC Sport has assured its viewers that it will broadcast those two friendlies as well as next year’s AFCON tournament.
There were reports suggesting the public broadcaster would not show Bafana Bafana matches.