Nigeria: S'africa Drop Domestic League Top Scorer, Mabasa, From Squad to Face Super Eagles

17 May 2024

In-form domestic league top scorer, Tshegofatso Mabasa, is a glaring absentee in the 36-man provisional squad that South Africa's coach, Hugo Broos, has drawn up for the 2026 World Cup qualifying matches against Nigeria and Zimbabwe.

Tshegofatso Mabasa, the centre forward for Orlando Pirates currently tops the scoring chart in South Africa's Premiership where he has scored 15 goals. The provisional 36-man squad will in the next few days be reduced to 23.

The Belgian tactician however called up most of the players that featured at the Africa Cup of Nations earlier in the year when Bafana Bafana placed third after being eliminated by the Super Eagles.

Included in the squad is Lyle Foster, the striker whose club, Burnley, has just been relegated from the English Premier League. He was absent at the Africa Cup of Nations owing to what was termed as mental health issues.

Also invited is Mabasa's teammate at Orlando Pirate, Evidence Makgopa, who played a crucial role for Bafana as they won bronze at the AFCON in Cote d'Ivoire.

He was not called for Bafana's friendlies in Algeria in March, where the national team drew 1-1 against Andorra and 3-3 against Algeria as Foster's future with the national team remained clouded.

Broos had said after the Nations Cup he would engage the Pirates youth product and Burnley manager, Vincent Kompany, on the striker's future with Bafana.

Another notable inclusion is Pirates' 19-year-old attacker, Relebohile Mofokeng, who has caught the eye with his performances, scoring four goals in 35 league and cup games in a breakthrough season for the Soweto giants.

Bafana will meet Nigeria in Uyo on June 7, then host Zimbabwe in Bloemfontein on June 11.

South Africa are second in Group C on three points next to leaders Rwanda on four. Nigeria, Lesotho and Zimbabwe have two points while Benin have one.

The top teams from the nine African groups will qualify for the first 48-team World Cup in Canada, Mexico and the USA. The four best runners-up will go into a playoff to decide the team that will contest a six-team intercontinental tournament.

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