Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund announced a 25-man squad to play in next month's 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifiers against the Central African Republic (CAR) and Ethiopia on Friday.
The first of the two World Cup qualifiers against CAR in Yaounde, Cameroon will be played on Saturday, 8 June, at Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo, with the second match against Ethiopia, taking place in Addis Ababa, set to be contested on Sunday, 16 June.
Despite Bafana Bafana having been ravaged by injuries to its core players especially in defence, Igesund has kept the nucleus of the squad that did duty in a 2-0 win over the CAR in Cape Town in March. He has brought in seven players who were not part of that squad.
Injuries have ruled out defenders Morgan Gould, Siyabonga Sangweni, Siyanda Xulu, and Thabo Matlaba, as well as striker Dino Ndlovu, while Daylon Claasen, who is not attached to any club, is out. Midfielder Lerato Chabangu has also been left out.
Called up to the squad are defenders Tsepo Masilela, Tefo Mashamaite, Siboniso Gaxa (all Kaizer Chiefs), as well as Bevan Fransman of Supersport United.
Also returning to the Bafana Bafana fold after a long absence are Thandani Ntshumayelo and Tlou Segolela (both Orlando Pirates), Richard Henyekane of Mamelodi Sundowns and Katlego Mashego of Moroka Swallows.
The two qualifiers are part of Bafana Bafana's "Road to Brazil" campaign.
"These are two very important matches for us, and even though we are missing a few players through injuries or loss of form, things are looking very positive," Igesund said at the announcement of the squad.
"The players I have selected for these matches are highly technical and ready for the challenge. They also know what is at stake. I am quite confident that we will pull through.
"These are huge encounters for us, and as for the CAR match, the most important thing is that we must not lose this game," he added. "If we don't win, then we need to have a draw so we can stay in the race because we still have to meet and hopefully beat Ethiopia the following week, who are top of the group with two points ahead."
The Bafana Bafana mentor said even though the matches are away games, he will have to stick to his offensive strategy in order to get positive results.
He explained: "We beat CAR convincingly in Cape Town in March, and we want to continue with our attacking game, like we did back then, and I believe playing in a neutral venue will help in that regard. We have to be offensive if we want to get something out of the match against CAR or we will be putting ourselves in a very tight corner.
"The following week will be key against Ethiopia; of course, depending on how they would have played against Botswana," Igesund concluded.
Before Bafana play their World Cup qualifiers, they will face Lesotho in a friendly on 1 June. They depart for Cameroon on 4 June
BAFANA BAFANA SQUAD
Goakeepers: Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs), Wayne Sandilands (Mamelodi Sundowns), Senzo Meyiwa (Orlando Pirates)
Defenders: Eric Mathoho (Kaizer Chiefs), Tefo Mashamaite (Kaizer Chiefs), Thabo Nthethe (Bloemfontein Celtic), Anele Ngcongca (Racing Genk, Belgium), Bevan Fransman (Supersport United), Tshepo Masilela (Kaizer Chiefs), Siboniso Gaxa (Kaizer Chiefs), Tebogo Langerman (Mamelodi Sundowns)
Midfielders: Kagisho Dikgacoi (Crystal Palace, Eng), Dean Furman (Doncaster Rovers, Eng), Reneilwe Letsholonyane (Kaizer Chiefs), Oupa Manyisa (Orlando Pirates), May Mahlangu (Helsingborg, Sweden), Thandani Ntshumayelo (Orlando Pirates), Richard Henyekane (Mamelodi Sundowns), Thuso Phala (Platinum Stars), Siphiwe Tshabalala (Kaizer Chiefs), Daine Klate (Orlando Pirates), Tlou SSegolela (Orlando Pirates)
Strikers: Bernard Parker (Kaizer Chiefs), Tokelo Rantie (Malmo, Sweden), Katlego Mashego (Moroka Swallows)