Bafana Bafana head coach Hugo Broos has released a 23-man squad for the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Benin and Rwanda later this month.
Bafana Bafana will begin their qualifying campaign at Moses Mabhida Stadium where they will take on Benin on November 16, before travelling to Rwanda for their second group match on November 19.
23 men squad for the upcoming @FIFAcom World Cup qualifiers against Benin 🇧🇯 on 18 November 2023 in Durban and Rwanda 🇷🇼 on 21 November 2023 (away) @SAFA_net @10bet_ZA @CastleLagerSA @SABC_Sport pic.twitter.com/iS6CnvbET2
— Bafana Bafana (@BafanaBafana) November 10, 2023
Broos’ men are currently unbeaten in 11 consecutive matches, winning six and drawing five, with the run dating back to June 2022 when they lost to Morocco.
As expected, striker Lyle Foster has not been called up, while Percy Tau makes a return to the squad as Bafana Bafana hope to begin the qualifiers on a strong note.
Broos also handed call-ups to Bradley Cross of Golden Arrows, Oswin Appollis of Polokwane City, Thapelo Maseko of Mamelodi Sundowns and Jayden Adams of Stellenbosch, while the notable exclusion is US-based Njabulo Blom.
Bafana Bafana have been placed in Group C of the qualifiers alongside Nigeria, Benin, Rwanda, Zimbabwe and Lesotho.
The top-ranked team from each of the nine CAF qualifying groups will qualify directly for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
Why Foster is missing from the latest Bafana Bafana squad
Foster has being omitted from the squad because he is taking a break from football due to issues with his mental well-being. A development his club Burnley confirmed on Thursday.
The South Africa international joined Burnley from Belgian side Westerlo in January of this year, and has three Premier League goals to his name from seven appearances in the current season.
His latest game for The Clarets came in the 3-0 loss to Brentford on October 21, and the club confirmed on Thursday that Foster, 23, was in the care of specialists.
In a statement, Burnley said: “Recently, Lyle let us know that he continues to live with issues around his mental well-being and has reached out for help.
“He is currently in the care of specialists – giving him the support and care he needs to help him back to full health.
“With the love and support of his family and everyone at Burnley Football Club we will do all we can to provide everything he needs to get better.
“We ask for your understanding and respect Lyle's privacy around this matter and will not be making any more comment until further notice.”
All The Invited Players
Broos initially named a 44-member preliminary squad and the selection has been pruned down to 23 players.
As expected, the final squad is dominated by players plying their trade at home with a few foreign-based stars such as Tau of Al Ahly in Egypt, Bongokuhle Hlongwani (USA) and Lebo Mothiba (France).
Broos also called up some new faces, including uncapped Cross and Appollis, as well as Adams, who has featured for Bafana in the COSAFA Cup.
Goalkeepers: Ronwen Williams (Mamelodi Sundowns), Veli Mothwa (Amazulu), Ricardo Goss (SuperSport United)
Defenders: Sydney Mobbie (Sekhukhune United), Bradley Cross (Golden Arrows), Grant Kekana (Mamelodi Sundowns), Nkosinathi Sibisi (Orlando Pirates), Aubrey Modiba (Mamelodi Sundowns), Siyanda Xulu (SuperSport United), Mothobi Mvala (Mamelodi Sundowns), Khuliso Mudau (Mamelodi Sundowns)
Midfielders: Teboho Mokoena (Mamelodi Sundowns), Sibongiseni Mthethwa (Kaizer Chiefs, Jayden Adams (Stellenbosch), Sphephelo Sithole (CD Tondela)
Forwards: Themba Zwane (Mamelodi Sundowns), Zakhele Lepasa (Orlando Pirates), Lebo Mothiba (Strasbourg), Percy Tau (Al Ahly), Oswin Appollis (Polokwane City), Mihlali Mayambela (Aris Limassol), Thapelo Maseko (Mamelodi Sundowns), Bongokuhle Hlongwane (Minnesota United)
This article was most recently revised and updated 3 weeks ago