South Africa recall captain Pienaar
Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Steven Pienaar was on Thursday recalled by South Africa for friendlies against Ivory Coast and Zimbabwe later this month.
Groin and knee injuries ruled the 29-year-old Bafana Bafana (The Boys) captain out of recent 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Niger and Sierra Leone, and they failed to make the finals after taking only one point from a possible six.
Pienaar is among three fit-again foreign-based professionals included by coach Pitso Mosimane in a 28-man squad for fixtures against the Ivorian Elephants in Port Elizabeth on November 12 and the Zimbabwe Warriors in Harare three days later.
The others are left-back Tsepo Masilela from Spanish outfit Getafe and defensive midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi from English second-tier club Crystal Palace, while the squad includes nine footballers playing abroad.
Pienaar, Dikgacoi and defender Bongani Khumalo are based in England, defenders Anele Ngcongca and Siboniso Gaxa and midfielder Daylon Claasen in Belgium, defender Bevan Fransman in Israel, striker Bradley Grobler in Turkey and Masilela in Spain.
First-choice goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune is recovering from pneumonia and was not included in a squad that surprisingly includes only two keepers -- Moeneeb Josephs and Wayne Sandilands -- despite its size.
Mosimane, under fire from the public and media after failing to reach the 2012 Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, selected five uncapped players, including a striker from the bottom club in the South African Premiership.
Siyabonga Nontshinga of Jomo Cosmos, a club coached by national football legend Jomo Sono, has been called up as Mosimane grapples with a goal-shy attack that scored just four times in six African qualifiers.
The other newcomers are Golden Arrows defender Musa Bilankulu, Ajax Cape Town midfielders George Maluleka and Granwald Scott and Kaizer Chiefs midfielder George Lebese.
Goalkeepers: Moeneeb Josephs (Orlando Pirates), Wayne Sandilands (Mamelodi Sundowns)
Defenders: Happy Jele and Siyabonga Sangweni (Pirates), Musa Bilankulu (Golden Arrows), Bevan Fransman, (Hapoel Tel Aviv/ISR), Morgan Gould (SuperSport Utd), Siboniso Gaxa (Lierse/BEL), Bongani Khumalo (Reading/ENG), Anele Ngcongca (Genk/BEL), Punch Masenamela (Sundowns), Tsepo Masilela (Getafe/ESP)
Midfielders: George Lebese, Reneilwe Letsholonyane and Siphiwe Tshabalala (Kaizer Chiefs), George Maluleka and Granwald Scott (Ajax Cape Town), Daylon Claasen (Lierse/BEL), Kagisho Dikgacoi (Crystal Palace/ENG), Hlompho Kekana (Sundowns), Oupa Manyisa (Pirates), Thanduyise Khuboni (Arrows), Teko Modise (Sundowns), Steven Pienaar (Tottenham/ENG, capt)
Forwards: Kermit Erasmus (SuperSport), Bradley Grobler (Goztepe/TUR), Katlego Mphela (Sundowns), Siyabonga Nontshinga (Jomo Cosmos)
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