Jonty Mark

By Jonty Mark

Football Editor

Pirates young gun Mofokeng in Bafana squad for World Cup qualifiers

There is no place in the squad, however, for in-form Tshegofatso Mabasa.

Bafana Bafana head coach Hugo Broos on Wednesday named Orlando Pirates’ young star Relebohile Mofokeng in his preliminary squad for the upcoming Fifa World Cup qualifiers against Nigeria and Zimbabwe.

There was no place in the 36-man squad, however, for the Buccaneers’ in-form striker Tshegofatso Mabasa.

Mofokeng has been in superb form for the Buccaneers in 2024, with four goals and four assists in all competitions. Broos already spoke in March of how the 19 year-old had impressed him, and he has now been rewarded with a chance at making it into the final squad the vital qualifiers.

Bafana will play Nigeria in Uyo on June 7 and Zimbabwe at the Free State Stadium on June 11, with Broos set to trim his squad in the coming weeks.

Burnley striker Lyle Foster has also been named in the squad despite not playing for Bafana since October, after struggling with mental health issues.

Foster has been playing regularly in the English Premier League with Burnley, but it remains to be seen if he feels ready to return to the international set-up, having written to the South African Football Association asking not to be considered for the Africa Cup of Nations finals in the Ivory Coast earlier this year.

Mabasa has been in prolific scoring form for Pirates this year, scoring 12 times in all competitions since being recalled from a loan spell at Moroka Swallows.

But Broos does have previous with the Buccaneers marksman, taking the striker off just 35 minutes into a Fifa World Cup qualifier against Ethiopia in October 2021.

“I know it was a little disappointing for Tshegofatso but he had difficulties,” said Broos after the match.

“We trained on it (the plan for Ethiopia) … but I do not think he really understood what we asked from him. And therefore we had to change him after half an hour.”

Pirates’ Evidence Makgopa, who led the line so well for Bafana at the Afcon finals in the Ivory Coast, is in the squad, even though he has made only four appearances for Pirates as a substitute, without scoring, since returning from injury this month.

Broos did find a place in his squad for talented Stellenbosch striker Devin Titus, who has also been in sparking form in the DStv Premiership.

Bafana squad:

Goalkeepers: Ronwen Williams, Bruce Bvuma, Ricardo Goss, Veli Mothwa.

Defenders: Nyiko Mobbie, Innocent Maela, Given Msimango, Khuliso Mudau, Siyabonga Ngezana, Thabiso Monyane, Nkosinathi Sibisi, Mothobi Mvala, Terrence Mashego, Grant Kekana, Thapelo Morena, Aubrey Modiba, Tapelo Xoki, Thabo Maloisane.

Midfielders: Teboho Mokoena, Bathusi Aubaas, Grant Margeman, Sphephelo Sithole, Jayden Adams

Forwards: Themba Zwane, Patrick Maswanganyi, Tshepang Moremi, Evidence Makgopa, Mihlali Mayambela, Devin Titus, Mlondi Mbanjwa, Elias Mokweana, Percy Tau, Oswin Appollis, Iqraam Rayners, Lyle Foster, Relebohile Mofokeng