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Bafana Afcon 2015 squad announced

Coach Shakes Mashaba has announced a 23-man squad for the 2015 Afcon.

FILE: Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba has announced a 23-man squad for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) which will take place from 17 January to 8 February 2015.

Mashaba said players are selected in terms of their core values.

"We can only reap rewards if we employ the necessary weapons."

The coach has kept faith with most of the players that did duty during the Afcon 2015 qualifiers.

The 23-man squad is as follows:

Strikers: Bernard Parker, Tokelo Rantie, Bongani Ndulula and Sibusiso Vilakazi.

Midfielders: Themba Zwane, Andile Jali, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Bongani Zungu, Thamsanqa Sangweni, Dean Furman, Thuso Phala, Mandla Masango and Oupa Manyisa.

Defenders: Siyabonga Nhlapo, Patrick Phungwayo, Anele Ngcongca, Thulani Hlatshwayo, Eric Mathoho, Rivaldo Coetzee and Thabo Matlaba.

Goalkeepers: Darren Keet, Jackson Mabokgwane and Brilliant Khuzwayo.

Furthermore, Bafana have taken a short break from camp and will return in the New Year on Friday, 2 January 2015.

On 4 January they will have a warm-up match against Equatorial Guinea-bound Zambia at Orlando Stadium in Soweto.

Kickoff for that match is at 3pm.

The national team's opening match in the tournament is against Algeria on 19 January at 9pm, followed by the clash with Senegal on 23 January, also at 9pm.

The last group stages match against Ghana is on 27 January at 8pm.

Bafana will play all their group stage matches in Mongomo in Equatorial Guinea.

ITUMELENG KHUNE NOT INCLUDED

Two weeks ago the national coach announced that Itumeleng Khune was not included in his 34-man preliminary squad for the event.

Khune's three-month absence from the game could go down as the main reason for exclusion, further emphasising Mashaba's philosophy of using on-form players as opposed to big name players.

Khune suffered an injury while on duty for Bafana ahead of the Afcon qualifiers and missed, among others, Kaizer Chief's MTN8 triumph over arch rivals Orlando Pirates, a match which elevated Khuzwayo to immediate stardom.

Khuzwayo's brilliance in goals has helped Chiefs remain unbeaten in the league in 17 games, subsequently earning him a place in the Bafana set-up.

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