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Bafana Bafana’s Premier Soccer League based contingent are in Mbabane ahead of an international friendly engagement with the Swaziland at the Somhlolo National Stadium on Friday.

Bafana head coach Gordon Igesund has challenged this group to put their hands up for a spot in the 2014 African Nations Championship (CHAN), set to be played on South African shores from January until February.

Since Orlando Pirates have wrapped up their CAF Champions League campaign, Igesund has had the best available crop currently plying their trade in the domestic league to choose from.

South Africa is ranked 61st in the FIFA world rankings and 12th in the CAF standings, while Swazis occupy the 183rd and 48th spots respectively.

On paper, the Swazis are the ideal opponent for Bafana to test themselves against ahead of CHAN – which is the only available piece of silverware until AFCON 2015.

The squad:

The 23-man squad has two of South Africa’s top goal-scorers in Bernard Parker and Edward Manqele, who have four league goals each after nine matches.

Only Zimbabwean Cuthbert Malajila of Mamelodi Sundowns has scored more (five goals) than the two players.

There are other striking options available for the SA coach, with the hard-working Pirates duo Kermit Erasmus and Lennox Bacela also included.

Meanwhile, Pirates winger Daine Klate has been ruled out because of an injury he picked up the second leg of the CAF Final played on Sunday, which means that there are only three natural wingers in Lerato Chabangu, Thuso Phala and Siphiwe Tshabalala available.

Tshabalala will probably captain this team, which leaves only one spot available out wide for the other two players to contest for.

The more central-midfield positions are possibly the coach’s biggest headache, as he has the PSL cream to choose from. He may decide to go for a three-man central combination so he is able to fit Andile Jali, Hlompho Kekana, Oupa Manyisa, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Bongani Zungu and Sibusiso Vilakazi in.

He has some of the most versatile defenders to choose from; he can close his eyes and select anyone in this group made up of Thabo Nthete, Tshepo Gumede, Tefo Mashamaite, Buhle Mkhwanazi, Rooi Mahamutsa, Tsepo Masilela, Thabo Matlaba and Happy Jele.

The alternative is the 4-3-3 gung-ho where Igesund could pick three central midfielders and unleash three strikers on his opponents.

The full Bafana squad:

Goalkeepers: Senzo Meyiwa (Orlando Pirates), Ronwen Williams (SuperSport United).

Defenders: Thabo Nthethe (Bloemfontein Celtic), Tshepo Gumede (Platinum Stars), Tefu Mashamaite (Kaizer Chiefs), Buhle Mkhwanazi (University of Pretoria), Rooi Mahamutsa (Orlando Pirates), Tsepo Masilela (Kaizer Chiefs), Thabo Matlaba (Orlando Pirates), Happy Jele (Orlando Pirates).

Midfielders: Andile Jali (Orlando Pirates), Hlompho Kekana (Mamelodi Sundowns), Oupa Manyisa (Orlando Pirates), Reneilwe Letsholonyane (Kaizer Chiefs), Bongani Zungu (Mamelodi Sundowns), Sibusiso Vilakazi (Bidvest Wits), Lerato Chabangu (Moroka Swallows), Thuso Phala (Supersport United), Siphiwe Tshabalala (Kaizer Chiefs).

Strikers: Lennox Bacela (Orlando Pirates), Kermit Erasmus (Orlando Pirates), Bernard Parker (Kaizer Chiefs),Edward Manqele (Moroka Swallows).

Source: Fotball411

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