South Africa pick Peterborough teen for Brazil
Peterborough United full-back Kgosietsile Ntlhe could face five-time world champions Brazil just a few weeks after winning a first-team place with the English second-tier football club.
New South Africa coach Gordon Igesund included the 18-year-old youth international in a 25-man squad Thursday for friendlies against Brazil and Mozambique next month.
Bafana Bafana (The Boys) tackle 2014 World Cup hosts Brazil in Sao Paulo on September 7 and Mozambique in Nelspruit four days later as they prepare for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in the republic.
"I am always proud to represent my country, so to be called up to the senior squad is a dream. When I tell my family, there will be a lot of shouting down the phone," Ntlhe told the South African media.
"It really is incredible. It has been an unbelievable start to the season for me and I am enjoying every minute of it. I cannot wait to get on the flight to Brazil.
"When the manager (Darren Ferguson) told me before training, I actually thought it was banter. I could not believe it and the call-up has still not really sunk in."
Peterborough coaching staffer Dave Robertson said: "It is fantastic news for Kgosi and will be a magnificent experience for him. I know he will gain a lot from his time with the squad.
"I have worked with him for the last couple of years -- he is a footballer who always wants to learn and improve and this call-up is a fitting reward for him."
Igesund retained Steven Pienaar as captain amid public and media criticism of the Everton midfielder, who scored a stunning English Premier League goal last weekend in a 3-1 triumph at Aston Villa.
Pienaar had come under increasing fire as South Africa went eight matches without a win before defeating depleted Gabon 3-0 in a Nelspruit friendly two months ago.
Other newcomers to the squad include midfielders Lerato Chabangu and Katlego Mashego from Soweto side Moroka Swallows, who Igesund guided to second place behind Orlando Pirates in the last South African Premiership.
Igesund who the league title with a record four clubs and took over the national squad when Pitso Mosimane was fired after South Africa were held 1-1 at home by lowly ranked Ethiopia during June in a 2014 World Cup qualifier.
Goalkeepers: Moeneeb Josephs (Orlando Pirates), Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs), Wayne Sandilands (Mamelodi Sundowns)
Defenders: Bevan Fransman (SuperSport Utd), Bongani Khumalo (PAOK/GRE), Punch Masenamela (Sundowns), Eric Mathoho (Chiefs), Anele Ngcongca (Genk/BEL), Kgosietsile Ntlhe (Peterborough Utd/ENG), Siyabonga Sangweni (Pirates)
Midfielders: Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Bernard Parker and Siphiwe Tshabalala (Chiefs), Lerato Chabangu and Katlego Mashego (Moroka Swallows), Kagisho Dikgacoi (Crystal Palace/ENG), Dean Furman (Oldham/ENG), May Mahlangu (Helsingborg/SWE), Thabo Matlaba (Pirates), Kamohelo Mokotjo (Feyenoord/NED), Steven Pienaar (Everton/ENG, capt), Thulani Serero (Ajax Amsterdam/NED)
Strikers: Thamsanqa Gabuza (Golden Arrows), Dino Ndlovu (Maccabi Hafia/ISR), Siyabonga Nomvethe (Swallows)
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