South Africa coach Ephraim Mashaba has announced the squad to travel to Central America for two friendly international matches next month against Costa Rica on Thursday, 8 October 2015 at Boltodano Bricenio Stadium in Liberia and Honduras at Metropolitano Stadium on Tuesday, 13 October.
The Costa Rica match will kick off at 04h00 SA time on Friday, 9 October while the one in Honduras will kick off at midnight in South Africa.
Central America is eight hours behind South Africa.
“This is the first time I will be leading this squad out of Africa and it is an exciting prospect. The main idea is to try and gauge our level of performance. Also I think it’s a good experience for us to play teams ranked above us like Costa Rica because to continue improving our rankings, we must play and beat the best,” said Mashaba.
This will be Bafana Bafana’s first ever meeting with Honduras while they have played Costa Rica once – in the Nelson Mandela Challenge clash on the 11th of October in 2003 at Olen Park Stadium in Potchefstroom. South Africa won 2-1, courtesy of second half goals from Siyabonga Nomvete and Patrick Mayo.
That was also the last game Mashaba was in charge of the national team in his earlier stint.
“If you look back then at the Costa Rica team, you will see they had a very strong team and it was not a fluke that we beat them. It is good that we are playing them again and see how both teams have progressed so far. I know for a fact they are much better and stronger; they are no longer the same team that we beat then; so it will be tough. But I have confidence we will do well because our boys can also put up a very good fight,” said Mashaba.
“We will do our best to go there and get victories. We want to take the Senegal outcome forward and try to win all the games going forward. But we have to be realistic and acknowledge that along the line we will encounter turbulence – win some and lose some, but our intention is to win all our games.”
Bafana Bafana assemble for camp on Sunday, 4 October in Johannesburg and depart for Central America the next day (Monday, 5 October).
They return to South Africa on Thursday, 15 October – two days later they face Angola in the first of four matches of the 2016 CHAN as well as 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. The squad to play the CHAN qualifiers will be announced in the next few days.
“I would like to appeal to the nation to rally behind the team. We know that sometimes it hurts to lose but we are rectifying that and bring positive results,” concluded the Bafana Bafana mentor.
Goalkeepers: Jackson Mabokgwane, Itumeleng Khune, Ronwen Williams
Defenders: Anele Ngcongca, Thabo Matlaba, Mzikayise Mashaba, Erick Mathoho, Clayton Daniels, Rivaldo Coetzee, Thulani Hlatshwayo, Siyabonga Nhlapo
Midfielders: Andile Jali, Dean Furman, Bongani Zungu, Oupa Manyisa, Jabulani Shongwe, George Lebese, Mpho Makola, Ayanda Patosi, Mandla Masango
Strikers: Thulani Serero, Sibusiso Vilakazi, Prince Nxumalo, Thamsanqa Gabuza, Tokelo Rantie