This morning as we wake up, it marks the day that Gordon Igesund will select the provisional Bafana Bafana squad for the AFCON which is a mere 40 days away. Although this squad will not be finalised, I got hold of some of the countries top football minds and asked them to select the squad that they would take to the AFCON.
Here are the panel:
Dirk Vale (DV) – Media whizz and contributor to All Things Jabu and Run Ride Dive
Keegan Kruger (KK) – Co-founder of The Pundits, works for Amisco (Video Analysis Company – See our Castle lager future stars article). Also a hockey coach in the Western Cape.
Joe Crann (JC) – an Englishman in Africa. A football journalist working for Soccer-Laduma, Africa’s biggest football publication. Occasional blogger for www.footballfancast.com and the supporter site for his beloved Sheffield Wednesday.
Andrea Koshiaris (AK) – a communications consultant currently handling the Absa and Castle Lager football properties at EXP and worked with Nike during the 2010 World Cup.
Matthew Savides (MS) – a senior news writer by profession, but a sports fan by passion. Ever since he watched his first ever soccer match (Arsenal winning 3-0 thanks to an Ian Wright hat-trick) he’s been simply sports mad.
Tyron “Jabu” Barnard (TB) – The man behind All Things Jabu
Each one of the bloggers / analysts was tasked with selecting a 23 man squad, which we tallied up in each position and selected the players with the most votes as the Bloggers Choice Bafana Squad. When there is a split vote and a decision has to be made, Jabu’s choice would be the decider.
Itumeleng Khune – Kaizer Chiefs (MS, AK, TB, KK, DV, JC)
Wayne Sandilands – Mamelodi Sundowns (MS, KK, DV)
Moeneeb Josephs – Orlando Pirates (MS, KK)
Darren Keet – KV Kortrijk (AK, TB, DV, JC)
Ronwen Williams – Supersport United (AK, TB, JC)
Bloggers Choice – Itumeleng Khune, Darren Keet, Ronwen Williams
JC – Khune is, without a doubt, the best South African goalkeeper out there at the moment. He fully deserves to be Bafana’s number one. Keet Has been in fantastic form in Belgium for his club and deserves to be given a proper shot at challenging Khune for his spot between the sticks and Williams is coming on leaps and bounds in the PSL and I think is destined for big things.
DV – Itu will always be first choice and I think Keet is the future of South African keepers. I think Sandilands deserves a place in the side because he’s down well in a Sundowns side devoid of defenders.
TB – Itu has finally rediscovered the form that makes him the countries best by a fair distance. Keet is an exceptional talent that will definitely be valuable to have in the Bafana set up and Williams form has been great and I would rather make my third keeper someone for the future.
Siboniso Gaxa – Kaizer Chiefs (KK, JC, AK, TB)
Punch Masenamela – Mamelodi Sundowns (KK, DV)
Tsepo Masilela – Kaizer Chiefs (KK, JC, AK, DV, TB)
Morgan Gould – Kazier Chiefs (KK, MS)
Siyabonga Sangweni – Orlando Pirates (KK, JC, AK, DV, MS, TB)
Bongani Khumalo – PAOK (KK, JC, AK, DV, MS, TB)
Ricardo Nunes – MSK Zilina (KK, JC, DV, TB)
Anele Ngcongca – Racing Genk (KK, JC, AK, DV, MS, TB)
Bevan Fransman – Supersport United (JC, AK, DV, MS, TB)
Eric Mathoho – Kaizer Chiefs (JC, DV, MS, TB)
Siyanda Xulu – FC Rostov (AK)
Kgosietsile Ntlhe – Peterborough (MS)
Thabo Nthethe – Bloemfontein Celtic (MS)
Bloggers Choice – Bongani Khumalo, Siboniso Gaxa, Tshepo Masilela, Siyabonga Sangweni, Ricardo Nunes, Anele Ngcongca, Bevan Fransman, Eric Mathoho
AK – Ngcongca is a first choice in Belgium and should be the same for Bafana, Gaxa offers our squad a versatility that is lacking but also means he covers both full backs. Masilela is comfortably our best left back, but must stay fit. Khumalo is benefitting from regular football in Greece and will be a good captain under Gordon. Sangweni is our most experienced defender. Fransman will provide solid cover for the centre backs. Xulu should really be included for tournament experience as he is the future for Bafana.
KK -The defenders are pretty much selecting themselves at the moment but I’m pretty worried about the lack of pace in the back four. Our strength in our back four is definitely our full backs and Gordon will have to play Ngcongca and Masenamela if we want to defend and go forward.
MS – Sangweni is the real deal at the back, Fransman is one of the most solid and reliable centre back. Khumalo has benefitted from his move to Greece and is showing the form that caused Spurs to sign him. Mathoho has been the revelation of this season. Ngcongca has good pace and will happily join attack from the wings. Nthle looks a real star for the future and has been outstanding for Peterborough this year. Nthethe is one of the hardest working footballers who would run himself into the ground for his team. Lastly Gould, if he recovers in time he goes for me, but completely dependent on his current injury status.
May Mahlangu – Helsingborg (KK, MS, AK, DV, TB)
Lerato Chabangu – Moroka Swallows (KK, MS, AK, JC)
Thulani Serero – Ajax Amsterdam (KK, AK, TB)
Dean Furman – Oldham Athletic (KK, MS, AK, DV, JC, TB)
Kagisho Dikgacoi – Crystal Palace (KK, MS, AK, DV, JC, TB)
Reneilwe Letsholonyane – Kaizer Chiefs (KK, MS, AK, JC, TB)
Teko Modise – Mamelodi Sundowns (KK, AK, DV)
Siphiwe Tshabalala – Kaizer Chiefs (KK, MS, AK, DV, JC, TB)
Oupa Manyisa – Orlando Pirates (MS, TB)
Thanduyise Khuboni – Golden Arrows (MS)
Andile Jali – Orlando Pirates (AK, JC)
George Lebese – Kaizer Chiefs (DV, TB)
Sifiso Myeni – Orlando Pirates (DV, JC)
Ayanda Patosi – Lokeren (JC)
Bloggers Choice – Dean Furman, Kagisho Dikgacoi, Siphiwe Tshabalala, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, May Mahlangu, Lerato Chabangu, Teko Modise, Thulani Serero
KK – The midfield has loads of talent in it but I still don’t think we have to found our starting combination just yet! For us to really get going this AFCON we going to need to pass the ball well and even chip in with few goals.
JC – Furman has been a revelation for Bafana, with a fantastic grasp of the basics, Dikgacoi is in sensational form for Crystal Palace and has really found his niche in England. Yeye has been immense for Chiefs and will likely replicate the same form for Bafana and his Chiefs team mate Shaba looks like a reinvigorated player under Baxter. Chabangu is an Igesund favourite from Swallows and it was the Bafana coach who helped resurrect his career, Myeni is finding the form at Pirates that made us notice him at Wits. Patosi has been on fire in Belgium and would be a great selection and Jali on his day is the best defensive midfielder in South Africa.
DV – I think we have some wonderfully talented players and hard workers Furman and Dikgacoi. It will be interesting to see how we use what we have but I’d like to see more of Mahlangu, if he clicks we won’t miss Pienaar.
Bernard Parker – Kaizer Chiefs (KK, MS, DV, JC, AK, TB)
Katlego Mphela – Mamelodi Sundowns (KK, AK, TB)
Dino Ndlovu – Maccabi Haifa (KK, DV)
Tekelo Rantie – Malmo FF (KK, JC, AK, TB)
Lehlolonolo Majoro – Kaizer Chiefs (MS, JC, TB)
Siyabonga Nomvethe – Moroka Swallows (MS)
Benni McCarthy – Orlando Pirates (DV, JC)
Kermit Erasmus – Supersport United (DV)
Davide Somma – Leeds United (AK)
Bloggers Choice – Bernard Parker, Katlego Mphela, Tekelo Rantie, Lehlolonolo Majoro
TB – The top two goalscorers in the PSL in Majoro and Parker need to be included. They will look to carry that form for Bafana. Killer is for me the best and most talented striker in South Africa and at 75% fitness he offers more than some fully fit players. Rantie has the ability to finish that has often been lacking in South African football.
MS – Its no surprise to see Parker in my squad based on current form. His team mate Majoro is included for the impact they can make. The Amakhosi duo could start for Bafana. If Nomvethe recovers in time I would include him, he knows the Igesund way and will be a mature leader to the younger players. Rantie is fast and finishes well and is doing very well in Sweden!
AK – If Killer proves his fitness he needs to be included. He is one of the few players who can score goals from nothing. Parker has recently shown his form is not limited to club and will look to continue this to the new year. Somma is a very good striker in terms of a different option for Bafana. He holds the ball up well and is good in the air. Rantie is the type of player that takes a chance when presented with one!
So thats the Bloggers Choice Bafana 23. Based on the opinions and choices presented, could we see Bafana line up in the opening game like this:
Khune, Ngcongca, Sangweni, Khumalo, Masilela, Tshabalala, Furman, Dikgacoi, Chabangu, Parker and Mphela.