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Shakes Mashaba names a heavyweight squad for World Cup qualifier

Mashaba’s men are going in search of the country’s third World Cup qualification.

FILE: Bafana Bafana during a training session. PIcture: Bafana Bafana ‏@BafanaBafana.

JOHANNESBURG - Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba has named a strong side for their 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifier against Burkina Faso in Ouagadougou on 8 October.

South Africa have closed the chapter on their failure to qualify for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations and are hoping to not repeat the mistakes made in that campaign, in their bid to book a ticket to Russia in two years.

Mashaba's men are going in search of the country's third World Cup qualification, with the exception of the 2010 tournament for which they qualified automatically, as hosts.

The 66-year-old has pulled out the big guns for this mission, bringing in the likes of Thulani Serero, Ayanda Patosi, May Mahlangu, Oupa Manyisa, Eric Mathoho and the ever-present Itumeleng Khune, who is likely to lead from the front.

There's also a surprise call up for Bidvest Wits striker Eleazar Rodgers, who hasn't featured for Bafana in years - his inclusion will give Mashaba the option of height and strength against the physical West Africans.

Two qualifiers will take place in 2016, including Burkina Faso, while Mashaba's men will take on Senegal on 7 November at home.

South Africa will meet Cape Verde twice in September next year, and will then wrap the qualifiers up against Senegal and Burkina Faso again later in the year.

Between the two qualifiers this year, Bafana will also face the Black Stars of Ghana in an international friendly at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on 11 October.

The full Bafana squad to face the Burkinabe and Ghana:

Goalkeepers : Jackson Mabokgwane,

Itumeleng Khune,

Brighton Mhlongo

Defenders : Ramahlwe Mphahlele,

Rivaldo Coetzee,

Thulani Hlatshwayo,

Abbubakar Mobara,

Diamond Thopola,

Tebogo Langerman,

Eric Mathoho,

Thabo Matlaba

Midfielders : Dean Furman,

May Mahlangu,

Thulani Serero,

Oupa Manyisa,

Ayanda Patosi,

Keagan Dolly,

Aubrey Modiba,

Mpho Makola,

Hlompho Kekana

Strikers : Eleazar Rodgers,

Thamsanqa Gabuza,

Thobani Mncwango,

Sibusiso Vilakazi,

Tokelo Rantie