After close to a three-year absence from the national team, Mamelodi Sundowns midfield enforcer Andile Jali is back in the Bafana Bafana squad.

Jali has been included in the 25-man Bafana squad to play back to back African Cup of Nations 2021 qualifiers against Sao Tome and Principe later this month.

The former Orlando Pirates anchorman has been in great form for Sundowns this season, having played a total of 29 matches in all competitions.

In the audio below, Bafana head coach Molefi Ntseki says selecting Jali was a no brainer.

Another notable inclusion in the team is Kaizer Chiefs captain Itumeleng Khune who has only played four matches this season as he has been troubled by injuries and also playing second fiddle to Nigerian international Daniel Akpeyi.

In the audio below, Ntseki says Khune is in good shape for the national team.

Two players who have been regular features since Ntseki took over and have also been regulars under his predecessor Stuart Baxter are Bongani Zungu and Darren Keet. They are both not part of this latest squad, Ntseki had some interesting reasons for their omissions.

Zungu who finds himself second from bottom of the log in French Ligue 1 with Amiens SC, has played in all his team’s last six matches.

Ntseki revealed that the squad has been selected by the selection committee which he’s introduced and it comprises of other national team coaches at SAFA like David Notoane, Kwanele Kopo, Helman Mkhalele and others. He says they had a group of 50 players and whittled them down to 25. Out of the 14 goals that AmaZulu FC has scored this season, 12 come from Bongi Ntuli and Ntseki says he’s very much part of the bigger group.

Bafana play the first game against Sao Tome and Principe at the FNB Stadium on the 27th of March at 17h00 and will travel to the islanders who are close to the equator on the following day for a game which is on the 31st.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) on Wednesday released a statement that despite the coronavirus which has caused some European leagues to stop their programmes and some playing behind closed doors, the AFCON qualifiers will continue this month.

In the audio below, Bafana team medico Dr Thulani Ngwenya says they are taking the deadly coronavirus very seriously.

Report by Velile Mnyandu