PRETORIA: Premier Soccer League (PSL) and Moroka Swallows veteran striker, Siyabonga "Bhele" Nomvethe, 35, has been included in the Bafana Bafana team to face Ethiopia on the 2014 World Cup qualifier.
Bafana will play Ethiopia at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace in Phokeng, near Rustenburg on 3 June 2012. Kick-off is 3pm.
Head coach Pitso Mosimane on Thursday announced his 27-men squad for the upcoming 2014 World Cup qualifiers against Ethiopia and Botswana, as well as a friendly international match against Gabon.
Mosimane did not only recall Nomvethe, who is the current PSL top goal scorer with 20 goals, but he included the PSL second goal scorer Eleazar Rodgers (12 goals) of Santos. Orlando Pirates pacey striker, Tokelo Rantie is the only new member in the team.
After playing Ethiopia, Bafana will travel to Gaborone to face their neighbours Botswana on 9 June. The match venue and kick-off date are yet to be announced.
Four goalkeepers will battle it out for the number one jersey, Itumeleng Khune, Moeneeb Josephs, Wayne Sandilands and Belgium-based Darren Keet.
Mosimane has kept the experience in defence with the likes of Siyabonga Sangweni, Morgan Gould and Bongani Khumalo called up, while skipper Steven Pienaar will lead the midfield which includes Kaizer Chiefs' Reneilwe Letsholonyane, who recently returned from a long lay-off due to injury.
The head coach has also put three players on standby, but they will be in camp - Luvhengo Mungomeni (Moroka Swallows); Thamsanqa Sangweni (Amazulu) and Lehlogonolo Masalesa (Bidvest Wits).
"Ethiopia is a very stubborn team that doesn't give up and give in to pressure. They have a very quick team up front and a very compact defence. But, we think we have the ammunition and the players to unlock this ultra-defensive approach.
"We have played against such defences against the Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone recently and we managed to unlock them at particular times.
"We hope the experience of those two matches will help us unlock the Ethiopian defence. It is important to win the game at all costs. At this point in time, the key is to win the game and not focus on playing very well. The country deserves a win," said Mosimane.
Regarding his move of recalling ageing striker, Nomvethe, Mosimane said: "It is important to keep the balance of youth and experience in the team because we are also preparing the team beyond 2014."
Bafana will assemble on Monday, 21 May at the Southern Sun Hotel at the OR Tambo International Airport at midday, before departing to their camp at the Royal Marang Sports Complex.
However, Mamelodi Sundowns and Supersport United players will join the team after their Nedbank Cup final match to be played at Orlando stadium on Saturday, 26 May.
The Bafana squad: Itumeleng Khune, Wayne Sandilands, Moeneeb Josephs and Darren Keet. Defenders, Morgan Gould, Siyabonga Sangweni, Bongani Khumalo, Punch Masinamela, Tshepo Masilela, Anele Ngongca, Eric Mathoho and Siboniso Gaxa.
Midfielders: Thanduyise Khuboni, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Siphiwe Tshabalala, Lebohang Mokoena, Teko Modise, Andile Jali, May Mahlangu, Thulani Serero, Oupa Manyisa, Mzikayise Mashaba and Steven Pienaar.
Strikers: Katlego Mphela, Siyabonga Nomvethe, Eleazar Rodgers and Tokelo Rantie.