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South Africa releases AFCON 2019 squad list2 minutes read

South Africa coach Stuart Baxter named a surprise-free 23-man squad Sunday for the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

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South Africa head coach Stuart Baxter speaks to the players during the South Africa Squad training session at Steyn City School.

South Africa coach Stuart Baxter named a surprise-free 23-man squad Sunday for the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt from June 21 to July 19. France-based Bongani Zungu and Lebo Mothiba are the only selections who play for clubs in the top five European leagues.

Mamelodi Sundowns and Bidvest Wits, first and third in the 2018/2019 national championship, dominate the squad with five and four players respectively. Hopes of including defenders Joel Untersee of FC Zurich and Nikola Tavares of Crystal Palace were dashed when they could not obtain South African passports in time.

Both were born in South Africa and Untersee has represented Switzerland and Tavares Croatia in age-limit internationals because their parents hail from those countries. They remain eligible to be chosen for Bafana Bafana as neither has played for his adopted country at the senior competitive level.

South Africa are in Group D with fellow former champions the Ivory Coast and Morocco and Namibia, and it is considered the toughest of the six mini-leagues. Bafana boasts unbeaten Cup of Nations tournament records against their three rivals – winning twice and drawing twice against Morocco, drawing with the Ivory Coast and defeating Namibia.

The South Africa Squad players celebrates a victory
South Africa players celebrates a victory during the 2019 Cosafa Cup Plate final match between South Africa and Malawi at Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban on 07 June 2019 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Related: Injured Liverpool star selected for AFCON tournament

Official South Africa Squad List

Goalkeepers: Bruce Bvuma (Kaizer Chiefs), Darren Keet (Bidvest Wits), Rowen Williams (SuperSport Utd)

Defenders: Sifiso Hlanti, Thulani Hlatshwayo (capt), Buhle Mkhwanazi (all Wits), Daniel Cardoso, Ramahlwe Mphahlele (both Chiefs), Innocent Maela (Orlando Pirates), Thamsanqa Mkhize (Cape Town City)

Related: Zimbabwe keep clean sheet in AFCON friendly draw with Nigeria

Midfielders: Hlompho Kekana, Tiyani Mabunda, Themba Zwane (all Mamelodi Sundowns), Dean Furman (SuperSport), Thembinkosi Lorch (Pirates), Kamohelo Mokotjo (Brentford/ENG), Thulani Serero (Vitesse Arnhem/NED), Bongani Zungu (Amiens/FRA)

Forwards: Lebogang Maboe, Sibusiso Vilakazi (both Sundowns), Lebo Mothiba (Strasbourg/FRA), Percy Tau (Royal Union St Gilloise/BEL), Lars Veldwijk (Sparta Rotterdam/NED)

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Business News

Business rescue team rule out mid-June return for SAA flights

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South African Airways business rescue practitioners have rejected an “unvetted” statement released by the state-owned airline indicating plans to resume domestic flights from mid-June.

The national carrier had on Tuesday, announced that its planes will be back in the skies between Johannesburg and Cape Town.

But Les Matuson and Siviwe Dongwana, the business rescue administrators, say the airline had breached communications protocol by issuing a statement which “created an unfair expectation on our relevant stakeholders, including SAA’s customers, as well as employees who are on unpaid absence as a result of the travel ban which led to the halting of the company’s operations, compounding its financial distress.”

SAA’s media statement had gone out without the approval of the practitioners as demanded by the business rescue procedure.

With the government of South Africa announcing that the country will enter into lockdown alert level 3 from June 1, domestic air travel will be permitted but only for business purposes.

The business rescue practitioners said SAA planes will remain grounded until a better understanding of what the level 3 regulations entail.

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Business News

Zambia’s Zesco, Chinese firm enter $548 man deal

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Zesco Limited, Zambia’s state-owned electricity company, has signed contracts worth $548 million with Power China to develop three solar power plants that will add 600 megawatts (MW) to the national grid.

The three contracts are a step towards diversifying renewable energy for the country, which relies heavily on hydropower and has faced electricity shortages partly due to droughts.

“The three-grid solar PV projects will have a capacity of 200 MW each,” Zesco Managing Director, Victor Mundende said in the statement, adding that the power plants will boost access to electricity and enhance industrial development. A generating date is yet to be disclosed.

Zambia’s power supply deficit has grown by nearly 20% since September, State power utility, Zesco announced in March, despite hefty price hikes and the government’s fast-tracking of support for green energy projects. 

Zesco’s Director of Corporate Services Patrick Mwila said in March the electricity deficit had grown to 810 megawatts (MW) from a 690 MW gap in September last year. E

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Southern Africa

Sharks happy to hold on to Rugby World Cup stars

South African rugby side happy to hold on to Springboks Rugby World Cup stars Lukhanyo Am and Makazole Mapimpi.

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South African rugby side The Sharks have expressed their joy at holding on to Springboks Rugby World Cup stars Lukhanyo Am and Makazole Mapimpi.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused a major shakeup in world and South African rugby as many high-profile players have left their clubs for pastures green.

Sharks have been able to retain the services of Am and Mapimpi but lost Springbok centre Andre Esterhuizen who agreed a deal before the Super Rugby season kicked off.

Am had led the Sharks to the top of the Super Rugby table before the season was called off and was made the skipper at the start of the season.

Eduard Coetzee, Sharks CEO said he is delighted to have the pair in the team and never wanted to put pressure on them to stay at the club.

Coetzee was happy with coach Sean Everitt for the impact he has had on the team since his appointment.

“This has been quite an emotional and difficult time. What we said to the players is that one way or another they’d be doing nothing wrong” Coetzee said.

“It was not like they asked for it [the escape clause], but it was an option given to them, and then it was up to them as individuals on how to handle it.

“I think they have dealt with it really well, and it was done on a platform of respect. I think it speaks volumes for the culture we’ve established, and how [coach] Sean [Everitt] has been able to get the team really close.”

With Am and Mapimpi staying with the team, Sharks have reatained Curwin Bosch, Thomas du Toit, JJ van der Merscht, Ruben van Heerden and Aphelele Fassi.

“It shows the players’ confidence in what we’re doing,’ Coetzee went on to say.

“It’s backing up what we’re putting in place and shows that players can trust us. We’re pretty relieved, but also just very happy that no one else is heading out the door.

South Africa Rugby had initiated a 21-day contract exit window in April so players could make moves to other clubs thereby helping the financial part of the game as play has been suspended.

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