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Goal-shy South Africa pick Dutch-born striker

Johannesburg (AFP) – Goal-shy South Africa have turned to Netherlands-born striker Lars Veldwijk ahead of their African World Cup qualifying Group D clash at home to Senegal on November 12.  

Bafana Bafana (The Boys) scored only eight goals during six matches in a failed 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign, and four of those came away to weak Gambia.

Belgium-based Veldwijk, 25, qualifies to play for South Africa because his father was born in the republic.

His previous clubs include English second-tier team Nottingham Forest and he scored 14 goals for Dutch top-flight side PEC Zwolle last season.

Veldwijk has had less success since moving to KV Kortrijk, manging just one goal in five outings

“I have been monitoring him since he was playing for Nottingham Forest and now he has moved to Belgium,” coach Ephraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba told a media conference in Soweto.

“He is a big, strong boy and maybe he can help us get more goals.

“Our build-up play is as good if not better than most national teams in the world, but we have serious shortcomings in the final third of the pitch.”

Mashaba chose four of the Mamelodi Sundowns team that last Sunday became only the second South African club after Orlando Pirates to win the CAF Champions League.

They are full-backs Asavela Mbekile and Tebogo Langerman, midfield enforcer Hlompho Kekana and winger Keagan Dolly.

Sundowns striker Sibusiso Vilakazi, who was ineligible for the premier African club competition this season, has also been selected.

South Africa drew 1-1 away to Burkina Faso last month in matchday 1 of the World Cup qualifying group phase while Senegal triumphed 2-0 at home to Cape Verde.

Only the section winners qualify for the 2018 tournament in Russia.

South Africa squad

Goalkeepers: Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs), Brighton Mhlongo (Orlando Pirates), Ronwen Williams (SuperSport Utd)

Defenders: Tebogo Langerman, Asavela Mbekile (both Mamelodi Sundowns), Erick Mathoho, Ramahlwe Mphahlele (both Chiefs), Rivaldo Coetzee (Ajax Cape Town), Clayton Daniels (SuperSport), Thulani Hlatshwayo (Wits), Thabo Matlaba (Pirates)

Midfielders: Keagan Dolly, Hlompho Kekana (both Sundowns), Dean Furman (SuperSport), Andile Jali (Ostend/BEL), Daine Klate (Wits), May Mahlangu (Dinamo Bucharest/ROU), Mpho Makola (Pirates), Ayanda Patosi (Lokeren/BEL)

Strikers: Bradley Grobler, Thuso Phala (both SuperSport), Eleazar Rodgers (Wits), Thulani Serero (Ajax Amsterdam/NED), Lars Veldwijk (Kortrijk/BEL), Sibusiso Vilakazi (Sundowns) 

Coach: Ephraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba

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