Masalesa laments Bafana Bafana withdrawal

Bafana Bafana midfielder Lehlogonolo Masalesa Bafana Bafana midfielder Lehlogonolo Masalesa

Bafana Bafana midfielder Lehlogonolo Masalesa says he is disappointed that he will not be able to represent his country at the Chan qualifiers against Botswana after not being eligible to play.

According to the Caf rules for the Chan qualifiers and tournament state that only players who play in their domestic league are eligible to feature in the competition.

Masalesa says he was relishing the chance to make his mark in the competition, but has to accept and abide by the rules of the tournament.

“Like any other player, I would have loved to play for my country because it is quite an honour to be called up. I was really looking forward to continuing on the good work we had started in the Cosafa Cup,” said Masalesa.

“I am very disappointed that I am no longer part of the squad that is going to play against Botswana, but then again I understand because rules are rules.”

Following Masalesa’s withdrawal from the national team squad, coach Stuart Baxter has now appointed Mario Booysen as captain for their upcoming match against Botswana.

“It’s an honour for me to captain the team, it’s just unlucky for Vieira (Masalesa) because we enjoyed his captaincy, but I will grab this opportunity with both hands, I will take the responsibility and lead the team,” he added.

“Even though it’s a big honour, it’s still not about me but about the team because we have come here for a result and that is our focus.

“We have a few experienced players in the team and we are really looking forward to the game. The first clash was very physical but we just have to stick to our game plan and make sure we execute it perfectly, I have faith in the boys that we will be victorious.”

Kick-off has been set for 15:30.