'We have assembled fairly young squad for Libya Afcon qualifier'

The average age of the Bafana squad is a healthy 26.4, something that Stuart Baxter believes that will help the younger players grow.

SuperSport United coach Stuart Baxter. Picture: Facebook

JOHANNESBURG - Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter has named a young 22-man squad that will face Libya in their second African Cup of Nations qualifier match at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on the 8th of September.

The most experienced player in the Bafana squad is Kaizer Chiefs’ goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune who has 84 Bafana caps to his name. Two other goalkeepers have been chosen alongside Khune, Bidvest Wits goal minder Darren Keet and SuperSport United’s Ronwen Williams have cracked the nod from Baxter.

The squad consists of seven defenders, with Thulani Hlatshwayo returning to the national team following a difficult time with injury in the past. Mamelodi Sundowns’ centre back, Motjeka Madisha, is also included among the defenders.

SuperSport United’s Tebogo Mokoena and Maritzburg United’s star midfielder Siphesihle Ndlovu could form a young and exciting midfield combination, with Sundowns’ playmaker Sibusiso Vilakazi also in the mix.

Bongani Zungu who plays for Amiens in France and Kamohelo Mokotjo who plays for English Championship side Brentford provide an international flavour to the Bafana midfield.

There is more international flavour among the attacking force as the likes of Keagan Dolly (Montpellier, France), Percy Tau (Royal Union, Belgium), and Lebo Mothiba (Lille, France) are included for the clash against Libya next month.

The average age of the Bafana squad is a healthy 26.4, something that Baxter believes that will help the younger players grow.

“We have assembled a fairly young squad that with time will grow and have more International football experience.”

Baxter also says they want to wrap up the Afcon qualifying as quickly as possible so that they can rotate and test more players.

“Ideally we want to qualify for Afcon with some games to spare so that we can give other guys a run and create more depth in the squad.”

The Bafana squad will assemble in Johannesburg on 2 September before they fly out to Durban the following day to begin their preparations for the game against Libya.