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Rantie, Zungu return for South Africa

Tokelo Rantie of South Africa
Tokelo Rantie of South Africa

South Africa coach Stuart Baxter has named his side for the African Nations Cup qualifier against Nigeria in Uyo on Saturday, restoring livewire striker Tokelo Rantie to the starting line-up.

Rantie netted twice the last time Bafana Bafana played in Uyo, a 2-2 draw almost three years ago that ultimately cost Nigeria a place at the 2015 Nations Cup finals.

The Turkish-based forward has not played for the national side since September last year after a fallout with former coach Shakes Mashaba.

Also returning after a long absence is midfielder Bongani Zungu, who has enjoyed an excellent six months at Portuguese side Vitoria Guimaraes. Injury and loss of form have seen him inactive for Bafana since November 2015.

There are no real surprises in the team named by Baxter, with Andile Jali perhaps the only player unlucky to miss out. The coach has preferred his SuperSport United midfield general Dean Furman to partner Zungu in the centre of the park.

They will be flanked by wingers Themba Zwane and Keagan Dolly, with Sibusiso Vilakazi playing just behind Rantie as the link between the midfield and the forward line.

The defence consists of full-backs Ramahlwe Mphahlele and Tebogo Langerman, while the centre-back pairing is Erick Mathoho and captain Thulani Hlatshwayo.

Itumeleng Khune will extend his record as South Africa's most-capped goalkeeper when he makes his 83rd appearance.

South Africa starting XI (4-4-2): Itumeleng Khune, Ramahlwe Mphahlele, Erick Mathoho, Thulani Hlatshwayo (c), Tebogo Langerman - Themba Zwane, Dean Furman, Bongani Zungu, Keagan Dolly - Sibusiso Vilakazi, Tokelo Rantie

READ: The task ahead for Stuart Baxter

READ: Rohr set to stick with winning team


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