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South Africa positive despite key withdrawals from Australian, NZ tour

South Africa national team boss Gordon Igesund is remaining positive about his squad ahead of the tour down under later this month.

This week, a number of key Bafana Bafana players withdrew from the May friendlies with Australia and New Zealand in Sydney and Auckland respectively but Igesund insists there is no meltdown within the group.

"I have put together a big squad of around 34 which is young and excited about playing for the country, so those who I have called as replacements are part of that broader squad. They are very capable players," said Igesund.

"All these players are part of the group that should participate in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifying matches for 2015 in Morocco. This is an opportunity for those selected to raise their hands and be counted. They are young and should compete."

Crystal Palace's Kagisho Dikgacoi and FC Rostov's Siyanda Xulu were among the names that pulled out of the South African roster but Igesund was quick to ensure that injuries were behind their decision to forego the trip.

"It has been a long season for most of these players and there is little I can do about injuries. Injuries are part of the game of football and there is no one to be blamed for this," he added.

South Africa will travel to Australia on May 22 before taking on the Socceroos on May 26 prior to their meeting with the All Whites on May 30.

18-man South Africa squad for Australia, New Zealand tour

Goalkeepers

Ronwen Williams (Supersport United FC) Senzo Meyiwa (Orlando Pirates)

Defenders

Thabo Nthethe (Mamelodi Sundowns) Buhle Mkhwanazi (University of Pretoria) Thato Mokeke (Supersport United FC) Anele Ngcongca (RacingGenk, BEL) Thabo Matlaba (Orlando Pirates) Erick Mathoho (Kaizer Chiefs)

Midfielders

Teko Modise (Mamelodi Sundowns) Oupa Manyisa (Orlando Pirates) Bongani Zungu (Mamelodi Sundowns) Themba Zwane (Mpumalanga Black Aces FC) Thulani Serero (Ajax, NED) Thuso Phala (Supersport United FC ) Hlompho Alpheus Kekana (Mamelodi Sundowns) Ayanda Patosi (Lokeren, BEL)

Forwards

Kermit Erasmus (Orlando Pirates) Tokelo Rantie (AFC Bournemouth, ENG)

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Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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