Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter on Sunday afternoon named his final 23-man squad for the Africa Cup of Nations later this month, excluding midfielders Ben Motshwari, Fortune Makaringe and striker Kermit Erasmus.
Asked for his reasoning behind his selection after about a week of having to deal with the withdrawal of Rivaldo Coetzee and Keagan Dolly, the Englishman said it was “difficult”, but he felt he’d selected a balanced team.
Bafana leave tonight for Dubai, where they will face Ghana on Friday before a final practice game against Angola in Cairo prior to their opening Group D clash against Ivory Coast on June 24.
“As you can imagine this has not been an easy process and it is certainly not made easier when we’ve had issues in the camp – the early injury to Keagan Dolly and then Rivaldo called in the day of the assembly and told us his mother was gravely ill, but we haven’t heard from him since,” Baxter told journalists.
On the other three omissions in Motshwari, Makaringe and Erasmus, the coach suggested their exclusion was not due to a lack of effort.
“I told them that they should look at their selection in the initial squad as a massive boost for their future. I just think that we have cover in those positions and I have had to pick a couple of players that can maybe double up as centre backs – so that tilted the scale a little bit. We also have a lot of experienced midfielders. But it wasn’t easy to tell them they didn’t make it.”