Home Sports News Bernard Parker Fight his way BACK into BAFANA BAFANA Squad

Bernard Parker Fight his way BACK into BAFANA BAFANA Squad

Bernard Parker

THE FIGHT for places in Bafana Bafana’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) squad begins in earnest when head coach Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba’s players assemble for a mini-camp in Joburg on 26 December.Bernard Parker

Mashaba announced his provisional 34-man squad yesterday for next month’s Afcon finals in Equatorial Guinea from 17 January to 8 February.

Mashaba still have to cut 11 players to name his final 23-man squad at the end of the month.

Mashaba told SunSport yesterday that he wanted to reward players who helped Bafana qualify – “but now it’s up to them to impress at camp”.

The exception is on-form Kaizer Chiefs striker Bernard Parker, who has played 68 times and netted 23 goals for Bafana, and is getting his first call-up under Mashaba.

Parker has made a full recovery after suffering from an ankle injury that kept him on the sidelines since the start of the season.

He has netted twice for Chiefs since his return and looks to be back to his best form. He will come in as cover for English-based Tokelo Rantie, who injured his shoulder playing for his club Bournemouth last month, after having scored three goals in Bafana’s last two Afcon qualifiers against Sudan (2-1 win) in Durban and Nigeria, where he bagged both in the 2-2 away draw.

Said Mashaba: “Parker has been playing well. I might have a problem with the strikers due to injuries and he has earned his call-up.

“I will give every player a fair chance to earn a place in the final Afcon squad.”

The details of the camp from 26-30 December are still being finalised, as are the friendly internationals to help prepare Mashaba’s boys for the finals.

Said Mashaba: “We will hold a press conference at the end of the month where all the details will be announced.

“There has been a lot of speculation around the friendly games but we will announce them with all the other details.”

Iran, Zambia and Cameroon have been mentioned as possible opponents.

Mashaba said he was relishing the challenge of playing in Group C – the so-called “group of death”, where Bafana come up against Africa’s top ranked country Algeria, Senegal and Ghana.

Said Mashaba: “We don’t fear any side. We’re going to Afcon to compete and win it. We’re not scared of any sides in our group and are looking forward to playing in this group.”

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