Khune, Zungu back in Bafana Bafana squad for Afcon qualifiers

Kaizer Chiefs shot-stopper Itumeleng Khune is back in the fold, while there is a maiden call-up for AmaZulu goalkeeper Veli Mothwa.

Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune. Picture: www.safa.net

JOHANNESBURG - Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki has named his 26-man squad for this month's back-to-back African Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers against Ghana and Sudan.

Kaizer Chiefs shot-stopper Itumeleng Khune is back in the fold, while there is a maiden call-up for AmaZulu goalkeeper Veli Mothwa.

Thibang Phete of Portuguese club Belenenses SAD, Cape Town City’s Craig Martin, Bongani Zungu, on loan at Rangers from Amiens, Brighton’s Percy Tau and Bradley Grobler of SuperSport United are just some of the other names called up.

Bafana take on Ghana at the FNB Stadium on 25 March before going away to Sudan three days later.

South Africa are currently second in Group C after four games played in the campaign.

At a briefing on Thursday morning, Ntseki defended the call-up of the experienced Khune despite his inconsistent showing in goal at club level as well as video circulating on social media showing him partying during lockdown.

“We had a very length telephonic discussion and he was explaining to me what he is going through, as a person, an individual,” the Bafana mentor revealed. “And what I said to him is that 'you must also consider giving respect to your career, giving respect to the profession you are in. You are not growing any younger. It’s also important for you to be a leader in terms of how you do things.'"

Zungu will also run out for Bafana Bafana for the crucial games despite breaching COVID-19 regulations.

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard confirmed in February that he felt “let down” after Scottish police broke up a house party where Zungu and four other players were present.

With the South African Football Association (Safa) not having any jurisdiction over club matters, Ntseki said that he was looking forward to Zungu showing up with a better attitude when he played for South Africa.

“He had something like this on his profile picture ‘people are building walls to block your path’, and I said to him 'the only person who can build a wall to block your path is Bongani Zungu and you must start breaking these walls and making use of those pieces to move forward with your career.

"We are looking at him to come into the national team after he has broken those walls to help the team qualify and play for his country."

BAFANA BAFANA SQUAD:

Goalkeepers:
Veli Mothwa (Amazulu FC)

Ronwen Williams (Supersport United FC)
Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs FC)

Defenders:
Thibang Phete (OS Belenenses, Portugal)
Siyanda Xulu (Haopel Tel Aviv, Israel)
Thulani Hlatshwayo (Orlando Pirates)
Mosa Lebusa (Sundowns)
Innocent Maela (Orlando Pirates)
Sifiso Hlanti (Swallows)
Thapelo Morena (Sundowns)
Craig Martin (Cape Town City)

Midfielders:
Rivaldo Coetzee (Sundowns)
Themba Zwane (Sundowns)
Thulani Serero (Al Jazira FC, Abu Dhabi)
Ben Motshwari (Orlando Pirates)
Bongani Zungu (Rangers FC, Scotland)
Keagan Dolly(Montpellier FC, France)
Percy Tau (Brighton and Hove Albion, England)
Sipho Mbule (Supersport United)
Andile Jali (Sundowns)
Luther Singh (Paços de Ferreira, Portugal)
Dean Furman(Carlisle United FC, England)

Strikers:
Kermit Erasmus (Sundowns FC)
Bradley Grobler (Supersport United)
Ruzaigh Gamildien (Swallows FC)
Lyle Foster (Victoria Guimaraes, Portugal)

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