Tuesday, November 4, 2014 5:35 pm
South Africa coach ‘Shakes’ Mashaba said Tuesday he will name a successor to slain captain Senzo Meyiwa on the eve of an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Sudan.
Meyiwa was gunned down on October 25 during an armed robbery at a house in a township 30 kilometres (19 miles) south east of Johannesburg.
The 27-year-old goalkeeper captained the national team and Soweto-based club Orlando Pirates and had not conceded a goal in four Cup of Nations qualifiers.
“I will decide who succeeds Senzo on the eve of the match,” Mashaba told reporters after naming a 26-man squad in Soweto for mid-November qualifiers against Sudan and Nigeria.
Bafana Bafana (The Boys) host Sudan in Durban on November 15 before travelling to Nigeria for a November 19 final-round clash against Nigeria.
“There is no need to rush the decision — we need to think carefully about who succeeds Senzo in order to choose the right captain.
“My fellow coaches and I will have a good look at the players in camp because it will not be easy to replace Senzo as a goalkeeper and a captain.
“But will we do our best to find suitable replacements and life has to go on.
“We are confident whoever takes over will be able to deliver,” said the coach who wept publicly in the days before the burial of Meyiwa last Saturday.
Defenders Tefu Mashamaite and Anele Ngcongca and midfielders Dean Furman and Andile Jali are possible choices as skipper.
When South Africa and Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper-captain Itumeleng Khune suffered a long-term injury, Meyiwa inherited a starting place and the role of leader.
He proved an instant success and inspired his team-mates by keeping clean sheets against Congo Brazzaville (twice), defending champions Nigeria and Sudan.
The Sudan fixture has been moved from north-eastern city Nelspruit to Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, the Indian Ocean city where Meyiwa was born.
South Africa lead Group A by one point from Congo and victory over Sudan will secure qualification for the time since 2008 — they competed in the 2013 tournament only because they hosted it.
Mashaba retained Belgium-based goalkeeper Darren Keet, reserve to Meyiwa during the four qualifiers, and called up Brilliant Khuzwayo and Siyabonga Mpontshane.
Former national under-23 shot-stopper Khuzwayo has proved an outstanding replacement for Khune at Chiefs while the Mpontshane call-up was surprising.
Poor form relegated him to the bench for most of the four-month-old season, but he excelled when recalled as Platinum stunned Chiefs in a cup tie two weeks ago.
Goalkeepers: Darren Keet (Kortrijk/BEL), Brilliant Khuzwayo (Kaizer Chiefs), Siyabonga Mpontshane (Platinum Stars)
Defenders: Tefu Mashamaite and Erick Mathoho (both Chiefs), Rivaldo Coetzee (Ajax Cape Town), Sibusiso Khumalo (SuperSport Utd), Kwanda Mngonyama (Maritzburg Utd), Luvolwethu Mpeta (Platinum), Anele Ngcongca (Genk/BEL), Siyabonga Nhlapo (Wits University), Ntsikelelo Nyauza (Orlando Pirates)
Midfielders: Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Mandla Masango (both Chiefs), Dean Furman (Doncaster/ENG), Andile Jali (Ostend/BEL), Fagrie Lakay (Santos), May Mahlangu (Goteborg/SWE), Oupa Manyisa (Pirates), Thulani Serero (Ajax Amsterdam/NED), Themba Zwane (Mamelodi Sundowns)
Strikers: Kermit Erasmus, Lehlohonolo Majoro (both Pirates), Bongani Ndulula (AmaZulu), Tokelo Rantie (Bournemouth/ENG), Sibusiso Vilakazi (Wits)