South Africa have named their squad for the FIFA Under-20 World Cup, with Monaco forward Lyle Foster included after he had missed much of the build-up through injury and club commitments.
The return of Foster is a major boost for coach Thabo Senong, who has seen his side battle for goals in their build-up, and even while qualifying via the African Under-20 Championships earlier this year.
Other overseas-based players included are Leicester City wingerThakgalo Leshabela, Ajax Amsterdam wide player Leo Thethani and Portugal-based midfielder Kobamelo Kodisang, who plays for Sanjoanense.
The team is likely to be led by goalkeeper Khulekani Kubheka, who has been a stalwart of the team for some time now.
Assistant coach Helman Mkhalele unveiled the side on Tuesday, with Senong given time off following the passing of his father last week.
“This was not an easy process to go through given the fact that we had a very good list of talented players in our provisional squad,” Mkhalele said. “We had constant engagements with our head coach during his selection process, and that enabled us to select what we regard as the best squad for the upcoming World Cup competition.”
Amajita, as the team are known, are pitted in Group F alongside Argentina, South Korea and Portugal.
Mkhalele stated that they have already done their homework on their upcoming opponents, adding that they will also do everything their power to make the country proud.
“We already had a look at our upcoming World Cup opponents and we already know how they are going to approach their group fixtures,” Mkhalele said. “Our preparation camp was centered around assembling a squad which would be able to match our Group F opponents and possibly fight to progress into the knockout stages of the tournament.
“This is going to require a whole lot of hard work. However, I believe that we have assembled a squad which has the right attitude and mindset to do just that.”
South Africa will be appearing at their fourth World Cup, and second in succession. They made the second round at the 2009 tournament that was hosted by Egypt, their best finish to date.
South Africa squad:
Goalkeepers: Khulekani Kubheka (Cape Umoya United), Kopano Thuntsane (Pele Pele FC), Glen Baadjies (Mamelodi Sundowns)
Defenders: Thabo Moloisane, Molebogo Modise (both Mamelodi Sundowns), Keenan Abrahams (Ajax Cape Town), Givemore Khupe (Cape Umoya United), Keenan Phillips (Bidvest Wits), Fezile Gcaba (Pela Pele FC), Sbusiso Mabiliso (AmaZulu)
Midfielders: Siphesihle Mkhize, Promise Mkhuma (both Mamelodi Sundowns), Oswin Appollis, Luke Le Roux (both SuperSport United), Njabulo Blom (Kaizer Chiefs), Luvuyo Phewa (Real Kings), Kobamelo Kodisang (Sanjoanense, Portugal)
Forwards: Leo Thethani (Ajax Amsterdam, Netherlands), James Monyane (Pele Pele FC), Lyle Foster (Monaco, France), Thakgalo Leshabela (Leicester City, England)