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Why I selected Ntuka - Baxter 06/08/04
Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter will use the upcoming friendly against Tunisia to run his eye over some of the country's emerging talent as he prepares for more important upcoming battles.

Baxter named fringe players Thando Mngomeni, Rowen Fernandez, Tyren Arendse and Jeffrey Ntuka in his 20-man squad to face the reigning African champions in Tunis on August 18.

Mngomeni, Fernandez and Arendse's places in a national squad are long over due. However, the inclusion of uncapped Belgian-based defender Ntuka took everyone by surprise.

The 21-year-old centre-back was part of a trio South African players - the others being Boy-Boy Mosia and Moses Modhubi - who were signed by English giants Chelsea a couple of years ago.

The players were immediately farmed out to their Belgian feeder club Westerlo to gain experience.

"As we have no real development at present, I will be using this friendly match to prepare for the World Cup qualifier against DR Congo on September 5 and at the same time assess talented players like Ntuka," said Baxter after announcing the squad on Thursday.

Baxter said he had consulted Chelsea's assistant coach regarding the Kroonstad-born Ntuka.

"I spoke to one of the coaches at Chelsea, Glynn Williams, who told me he rates Ntuka highly," said Baxter.

"He played in the Chelsea reserves last season. He was loaned to Westerlo this season in order to give him first team exprience.

"I will have a look at him during the build-up to the match (against Tunisia) and if he impresses he could get some time on the pitch on match night."

Full Squad:

Goalkeepers: Hans Vonk (Ajax Armsterdam Holland) and Rowan Fernandez (Kaizer Chiefs)

Defenders: Bradley Carnell (Monchengladback Germany), Nasief Morris (Panathinaikos Greece), Aaron Mokoena (Genk Belgium), Mbulelo Mabizela (Tottenham Hostspurs England), Lucky Lekgwathi (Orlando Pirates SA), Jeffrey Ntuka (KVC Westerlo Belgium)

Midfielders: Steven Pienaar (Ajax Armsterdam Holland), Japhet Zwane (Rostov Russia), Tyrone Arendse (Santos SA), Quinton Fortune (Manchester England), Delron Buckley (DSC Arminia Bielefeld Germany), Benedict Vilakazi (Orlando Pirates SA), Elrio van Heerden (FC Copenhagen Denmark), McBeth Sibaya (Rubin Kazan Russia) and Lans Davids (1860 Munich)

Strikers: Thando Mngomeni (Helsingborgs Sweden), Benedict McCarthy (FC Porto Portugal) and Shaun Bartlett (Charlton Athletic England)


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