South Africa have announced an 18-man squad to take on the Socceroos in their World Cup send-off match next month.
Bafana Bafana’s squad is made up of 11 domestic-based players and seven from Europe including midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi, a team-mate of Socceroo Mile Jedinak at Crystal Palace.
South African football boss Dr Danny Jordaan told the association’s official website: “These matches are an integral part of the association’s vision to have Bafana Bafana play against some of the top sides in the world.
“For us to have a strong Bafana Bafana we will have to face these big footballing nations. We have already played the likes of Spain and Brazil, and we have lined more high profile games which we will unveil with time.”
The visitors will take on the Aussies at ANZ Stadium on May 26 before facing off against the All Whites in Auckland four days later.
The squad also includes Belgium-based players Ayanda Patosi (FC Lokeren), Andile Jali (KV Oostende FC) and Anele Ngcongca (Racing Genk FC).
Tokelo Rantie (AFC Bournemouth, England), Thulani Serero (Ajax, Holland) and Siyanda Xulu (Rostov FC, Russia) round out the team’s overseas-based contingent.
South Africa are currently ranked 64 in the world, one place lower than Australia.
Bafana Bafana’s most recent match was in March - a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of 2014 World Cup hosts Brazil in Johannesburg. Six months earlier the Selecao had delivered the Socceroos a 6-0 spanking in Brasilia.
After holding football's showpiece event in 2010, South Africa failed to qualify for this year's tournament but coach Gordon Igesund remains confident his side will be competitive.
“Ï believe I have selected players capable of doing us proud Down Under in the two matches,” Igesund said.
“We are also happy to have been given the opportunity to assist Australia in their preparations for the 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament in Brazil.
“This is a chance we could not miss. We hope our match will be of great assistance.”
Two days after the match, the Socceroos will fly out for their training base in the coastal city of Vitoria.
Football Federation Australia boss David Gallop has said the South Africans will provide a good test for the Socceroos in the lead-up to the tournament.
“There’s no doubt that we did look at a number of options but this was the one worked for us best,” Gallop said early last month.
“Obviously it’s not that easy to find opponents that will travel to Australia at that time of year.
“With the World Cup being played in Brazil many teams are already making big travel commitments so this was a team that could make the trip.
“(Coach Ange Postecoglou) has looked at the mix of styles that we’ll play against in the lead-up and he’s comfortable with that.”comments