Baxter calls in Dad's Army to bolster SA

Experienced trio plus Thulani Serero back in coach's plans

17 August 2017 - 07:16 By MAHLATSE MPHAHLELE
Stuart Baxter. File photo.
Stuart Baxter. File photo.

Veterans Siphiwe Tshabalala, Reneilwe Letsholonyane and Morgan Gould could be set for a shock return to the national team several years after last donning the Bafana Bafana shirt.

Highly placed Safa House insiders said on Wednesday the three players were back in coach Stuart Baxter's squad.

Thulani Serero of Vitesse Arnhem in Holland and Kamohelo Mokotjo of English Championship side Brentford are also expected to return for South Africa.

Bafana face Cape Verde in Praia in a must-win 2018 World Cup qualifier next month.

Rivaldo Coetzee, who did not have a full pre-season with Ajax Cape Town, is likely to be replaced by the experienced Gould in defence.

Kermit Erasmus, who missed the Nigeria World Cup qualifier in June due to injury, and Andile Jali, who started on the bench, are expected to be included in the squad to fight for starting places.

Gould last played for Bafana four years ago in a 2-0 win over Central African Republic.

Tshabalala last donned national colours in a 5-0 drubbing by Brazil in an international friendly three years ago.

Letsholonyane's last cap was during a 2-1 loss to Ghana in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations tournament.

The insiders said Baxter was impressed by the performances of the three last season and decided to recall them to Bafana.

Tshabalala, 32, was named Kaizer Chiefs' player of the season and was also the club's top goal scorer with eight goals in all competitions.

Tshabalala's long-range stunner against Supersport United was voted by the fans as the goal of the season. Gould, 34, who worked with Baxter at Supersport United, was named the club's player of the season.

Letsholonyane, 35, was a standout performer for Matsatsantsa a Pitori last season and helped the club qualify for the quarterfinal stage of the CAF Confederations Cup.

Letsholonyane, who is approaching his 14th professional season, recently reiterated that he never retired from international football and would welcome another chance to represent his country.

"If I get a call from national coach Stuart Baxter, I will definitely respond to it because I never said that I have retired from international football," he told reporters at the time.