25 September 2019 – Bafana Bafana head coach Molefi Ntseki has announced a squad of 23 players to face Mali in the 2019 Nelson Mandela Challenge.
The clash will take place on Sunday, 13 October 2019 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.
Ntseki has made two changes to squad that was called up for the cancelled friendly international match against Zambia early this month.
He has called up Themba Zwane and Mosa Lebusa in place of Rivaldo Coetzee and Lebohang Maboe – all from Mamelodi Sundowns.
After the withdrawal of Zambia, this will be Ntseki’s first match in charge of Bafana Bafana following the resignation of head coach Stuart Baxter after the AFCON tournament.
The fixture is part of South Africa’s preparation for next month’s back-to-back 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Ghana and Sudan.
“This is a very important match for us as it will determine our way forward in the sense of how we are going to play and approach matches. We could not play a match in the last training camp due to reasons known to everyone, but we had good training in anticipation of that game,” said Ntseki.
“But it will be crucial for us to start the journey of the AFCON qualifiers in a positive note. What I also want to see from the players is the mental attitude that there are no friendly matches in international football, we have to do the best we can to win every fixture because winning can become a habit – and on the other hand so can losing. Once we do well against Mali, it will stand us in good stead against Ghana and Sudan next month.”
This will be the fourth meeting Bafana Bafana and The Eagles of Mali.
The visitors have won two of the encounters, and drawn one, with the hosts reigning supreme in one match.
“Mali will present us with a headache as they are tough opponents – first of all they are above us on the FIFA rankings and they did well at the AFCON recently in Egypt. But then again we need these type of opponents to improve ourselves. They are very tough customers but we will be up for the challenge,” added Ntseki.
“I am also honoured to be part of this great match to honour the greatest South African statesman, former President Nelson Mandela. It is a huge privilege to be leading the team in this annual fixture and I am confident that we will make sure the trophy does not leave these shores. All I can do is urge the fans to come in numbers to be part of this event where we honour our icon.”
Mali is ranked 11thon the continent – two places above Bafana Bafana. In the world, the West Africans are in position 57 compared to South Africa’s 71stspot.
Tickets for the match are available at Computicket outlets, Shoprite and Checkers stores.
They are sold at R40 for adults, and R20 for children under 12 years of age.
The host nation assembles on Sunday, 6 October 2019 in Johannesburg, and will travel to Port Elizabeth on Tuesday, 8 October.
They return to Johannesburg on Monday, 15 October
SA SENIOR MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM LIST vs Mali: 2019 Nelson Mandela Challenge
|1.||Darren KEET||OH Leuven FC (Belgium)|
|2.||Ronwen WILLIAM||Supersport United FC (SA)|
|3.||Brandon PETERSEN||Bidvest Wits FC (SA)|
|4.||Erick MATHOHO||Kaizer Chiefs FC (SA)|
|5.||Buhle MKHWANAZI||Bidvest Wits FC (SA)|
|6.||Thulani HLATSHWAYO (C)||Bidvest Wits FC (SA)|
|7.||Thapelo MORENA||Mamelodi Sundowns FC (SA)|
|8.||Thamsanqa MKHIZE||Cape Town City FC (SA)|
|9.||Innocent MAELA||Orlando Pirates FC (SA)|
|10.||MOSA LEBUSA||Mamelodi Sundowns (SA)|
|11.||Kamohelo MOKOTJO||Brentfort FC (England)|
|12.||Thato MOKEKE||Cape Town City FC (SA)|
|13.||Dean FURMAN||Supersport United FC (SA)|
|14.||Lebohang PHIRI||Guingamp FC (France)|
|15.||Bongani ZUNGU||Amiens FC (France)|
|16.||THEMBA ZWANE||Mamelodi Sundowns FC (SA)|
|17.||Thembinkosi LORCH||Orlando Pirates FC (SA)|
|18.||Percy TAU||Club Brugge FC (Belgium)|
|19.||Thulani SERERO||Al Jazira FC (Abu Dhabi)|
|20.||Keagan DOLLY||Montpellier FC (France)|
|21.||Lebo MOTHIBA||Strasbourg FC (France)|
|22.||Bradley GROBLER||Supersport United FC (SA)|
|23.||Kermit ERASMUS||Cape Town City FC (SA)|