Josephs returns to Bafana squad

Goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs has been recalled to the Bafana Bafana squad. (Gallo)

Goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs has been recalled to the Bafana Bafana squad. (Gallo)

New Bafana coach Gordon Igesund named his first full squad on Thursday – a group of 25 players – for friendly matches against Brazil in Sao Paulo next week and Mozambique in Nelspruit the following week.

Igesund said he did not beg for Josephs to make himself available after the second-choice shot stopper called an end to his international career in May.

"He said he would like to compete for a place in the national team, and I'm very happy about that," Igesund said.

"Moeneeb has since written a letter to Safa withdrawing his retirement.

"I never asked him to come back, I just wanted to know why he retired."

Igesund also confirmed that Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar had been retained as Bafana captain.

Form rather than reputation
With a number of changes to the last national squad named by former coach Pitso Mosimane in May, Igesund said he had based his selection on current form rather than reputation.

He also warned players that they would need to prove themselves on and off the field at their clubs if they hoped to be selected for the national team in future.

"I've spoken to the [club] coaches. For any player to be selected in the national team, they have to be performing for their club," Igesund said.

"If I get a report back that a player is ill-disciplined and not training properly, I will not select them.

"I will sit down with each club with the list of the three or four players I want and they will give me feedback about those players."

Igesund said the match against Brazil, his first in charge of the side, would provide a stern test for his new-look squad.

'Where we are'
"For us it's a great opportunity to see where we are," he said.

"I really feel this is the strongest team [available]. The most important thing is to select a well balanced team."

Igesund said he did not want to speak about players who had been left out of the 25-man group, but they would have opportunities to secure their place in the squad ahead of next year's Africa Cup of Nations tournament.

"I don't want to entertain questions about players that have not been selected," he said.

"There are no doors closed for players that have not been selected.

"There's a great vibe out in the public at the moment, and together we can make this happen and we want to make our country really proud."

High expectations
South African Football Association (Safa) chief executive Robin Petersen said his expectations were high for Bafana under the reins of Igesund.

"We are at a turning point in South African [soccer]," Petersen said.

"Our goal in the next 10 years is to consistently be in the top three in Africa and the top 20 in the world."

Bafana Bafana squad: Goalkeepers: Wayne Sandilands, Moeneeb Josephs, Itumeleng Khune.

Defenders: Siyabonga Sangweni, Bevan Fransman, Bongani Khumalo, Eric Mathoho, Anele Ngcongca, Punch Masenamela, Kamohelo Mokotjo, Kgosietsile Ntlhe.

Midfielders: Steven Pienaar (captain), Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Siphiwe Tshabalala, Bernard Parker, Thulani Serero, May Mahlangu, Katlego Mashego, Thabo Matlaba, Dean Furman, Kagisho Dikgacoi, Lerato Chabangu.

Strikers: Siyabonga Nomvethe, Dino Ndlovu, Thamsanqa Gabuza.
– Sapa

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