South Africa coach Gordon Igesund has included the entire defence of new league champions Kaizer Chiefs in his squad for two key World Cup qualifiers.
Chiefs back four of full-backs Siboniso Gaxa and Tshepo Masilela and centre-backs Eric Mathoho and Tefo Mashamaite are all in the 25-man group.
Bafana Bafana face Central African Republic in Yaounde on 8 June and and Ethiopia in Addis Ababa on 16 June.
Igesund’s side trails Group A leaders Ethiopia by two points.
Ethiopia has seven points, South Africa five, Central African Republic three and Botswana one and only the group winners advance to the final elimination stage.
As well as the Chiefs backline, Igesund has picked the club’s goalkeeper and captain Itumeleng Khune, midfielders Reneilwe Letsholonyane and Siphiwe Tshabalala and striker Bernard Parker.
Chiefs clinched a first Premiership title in eight seasons this week after a 1-1 home draw against SuperSport United.
Orlando Pirates, winners of the previous two titles and potential runners-up this season, are the second biggest contributors to the squad with five players selected.
Goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa and midfielders Daine Klate, Oupa Manyisa, Thandani Ntshumayelo and Tlou Segolela are the Buccaneers to get the nod.
There are 20 home-based footballers in the squad plus two each from England and Sweden and one from Belgium.
Injuries ruled out several stars, including Chiefs centre-back Morgan Gould and Pirates full-back Thabo Matlaba, whose wonder goal set up a 2-0 home win over Central African Republic.
“The players selected are highly technical and ready for the challenge – they know what is at stake and I am confident we will pull through,” Igesund told reporters in Soweto.
“Having beaten the Central African Republic convincingly in Cape Town, we want to continue with our attacking style.
“We need at least a draw to stay in the race before meeting and, hopefully, beating Ethiopia the following weekend.”
Violence in Central African Republic capital Bangui after President Francois Bozize was toppled last March led world football’s governing body Fifa to move the fixture to Cameroon.
“Reports I got say the pitch in Yaounde is excellent,” Igesund said of the artificial surface at Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo.
“However, we understand the national stadium pitch in Addis Ababa may be very bumpy.”
South Africa will play a friendly against neighbours Lesotho in Maseru on 1 June before flying to Yaounde.
LG Football Councils Appoint Chairman, Secretary
Rivers State Local Government Football Councils(RSLGC), has appointed the Chairman of Gokana Football Council, Martins Giadom as it’s Coordinator and Chinasa Elekwachi of the Onelga FC as Secretary.
In a meeting held in Port Harcourt last week, the 23 Football Councils in Rivers State agreed that the election of Martins Giadom and Chinasa Elekwachi as Chairman and Secretary, respectively will serve as a clearing house for a formidable grassroot sports development to support the good works of the State FA Board led by Barr. Christopher Green.
The LG FCs resolved to be proactive in their dealings with the Executive Chairmen of Council such that their impact will be felt as partners in progress
The LG Football Councils further agreed to regularly present major issues and challenges before the State FA Board for consideration.
It called for the resuscitation of the moribund Rivers State Governor’s Cup, urging relevant authorities to take action on the matter in the interest of football development in Rivers State.
The body stressed the need for all LGA FCs to be encouraged to run Football related activities within their jurisdiction, report and restrain non stakeholders from setting up political football committees who will further usurp the duties of LG Football Councils at the various Local Council Areas in the State.
Navy To Sponsor Team In NPL
The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Eastern Naval Command, Olusola Oluwagbire, has disclosed plans by the Navy to sponsor a football team in the Nigeria Football League.
Oluwagbire said this at the opening of the maiden edition of FOC Eastern Naval Command Intra-Command football competition in Calabar at the weekend.
Oluwagbire said the essence of the competition was to re-engineer the physical fitness and inspire a sense of comradeship in the personnel.
“This competition is to bring together officers, civilian staff and corps members with us together to re-engineer their physical fitness.
“It is also aimed at strengthening the relationship among the personnel and also to maintain their mental alertness.
“It has been long in coming and we are thankful that we finally got it off today,” he stated.
Oluwagbire who was elated with the turnout of teams for the competition, said it would be sustained.
In a remark, the Speaker of the Cross River House of Assembly, Elvert Ayambem, called for the sustainability of the competition, adding that the state governments have plans to revive sports.
More Nigerian Wrestlers Will Qualify For Olympics –Comptroller General
The acting Comptroller-General, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Mr Adewale Adeniyi, has expressed optimism that more Nigerian wrestlers will qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
He stated this on Saturday in Abuja after the inauguration of the ‘Work-Life Balance’ initiative which is a routine 5km brisk walk exercise meant to keep officers and men of the NCS physically and mentally fit.
Adeniyi who is also a board member of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF) said this against the backdrop of only one Nigerian female wrestler securing Olympic qualification in the just concluded World Wrestling Championships in Serbia.
The tude source reports that only three-time Commonwealth Champion, Odunayo Adekuoroye, secured a bronze medal in the women’s 57kg category at the just concluded Championship, to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics Games.
Team Nigeria was represented by six female wrestlers at the championships.
The customs boss however maintains there is no cause for alarm, as there are still two more pre-Olympics qualifiers, where he hopes more Nigerian male and female wrestlers will qualify.
“I am not disappointed with the performance of the wrestling team in Serbia.
“The competition in Serbia is one of the various competitions lined-up to get slots at the Paris Olympics, there are still one or two championships.
“I am very sure there will be one (championships) in March in Egypt and those of our athletes who did not get the ticket, would have the opportunity to do so,” he said.
Adeniyi said with the quality of wrestlers in camp and the continued training and exposure being given to them, the sky is the limit.
“What we had in Serbia was just our women team, we also have our men in camp and they are in top condition.
“I believe our male and female teams stand a very chance with the level of preparation and exposure we are going to give them ahead of the outing in March,” he said.
On the ‘Work-Life Balance’ initiative, the Customs CG expressed optimism that the initiative will lead to better wellbeing and productivity for officers and men of the NCS.
The theme for the Saturday’s Walk/ exercise is: “balancing for better tomorrow “ and it had participants from other para-military agencies.
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