local soccer 11.6.2015 01:16 pm

Mashaba explains Gabuza call-up

Shakes Mashaba during the South African national soccer team training session at Peoples Park on June 10, 2015 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images)

Shakes Mashaba during the South African national soccer team training session at Peoples Park on June 10, 2015 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images)

Availability and fitness played a major role in Shakes Mashaba calling up Thamsanqa Gabuza to replace Tokelo Rantie, two days before Bafana Bafana play Gambia in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

Rantie had been called up for the match at Moses Mabhida Stadium despite him getting married over two weekends, including the one Bafana Bafana will be in action on. The traditional ceremony was held last week with the white wedding expected to be held on the same day Bafana face Gambia.

Mashaba had expected that Rantie would join the team later in their week-long camp in Durban that start on Sunday. But that didn’t happem and Mashaba was forced to call up Gabuza, who will have one training session with the team on Friday before the match on Saturday. “We are going to replace Rantie because he is still busy with his family and wedding things, we said let’s leave him,” Mashaba said.

“We’ve got a replacement. We brought in Thamsanqa Gabuza from Orlando Pirates. It has been a difficult task because most of the players are on holiday now. We phoned two-three players to find out that some are in London, some are in Paris. We felt let’s not interrupt their holiday.” Mashaba refused to divulge the original agreement between the technical team and Rantie before going into camp.

“I don’t want to reveal people’s affairs in the media and the public but it’s all about his wedding,” Mashaba said. “He was getting married this past weekend. We know what was happening. There is nothing else to it.”

Gabuza comes into the national team high in confidence after scoring a brace for Pirates last week Saturday to help them reach the Caf Confederation Cup. He has been an important player in their continental glory quest.

“The good thing about him is that he is fit,” Mashaba said. “His team is playing in the continent. If you loom at out point on selection criteria it’s current form. He has done well with his team.”

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