SA omit Burnley forward Foster for Cup of Nations

Burnley’s South African striker #17 Lyle Foster (L) fights for the ball with Tottenham Hotspur’s Dutch defender #37 Micky van de Ven during the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Tottenham Hotspur at Turf Moor in Burnley, north-west England on September 2, 2023. AFP

Burnley forward Lyle Foster has been left out of the South Africa 2024 Africa Cup of Nations squad despite returning to action after recovering from an unspecified mental health issue.

The 23-year-old started in a Premier League match against Liverpool on Tuesday, but South Africa have heeded the advice of Burnley manager Vincent Kompany and not chosen the forward.

“Lyle cannot be travelling around the world at this stage and is not in a position to join South Africa for the Cup of Nations,” Kompany told South Africa coach Hugo Broos.

Another blow for Bafana Bafana (The Boys) ahead of Group E matches against Mali, Namibia and Tunisia in the Ivory Coast is the absence of injured Strasbourg forward Lebo Mothiba.

The physically imposing 27-year-old hurt his knee in a recent French Ligue 1 match and will be sidelined for several months.

Foster and Mothiba are the only South Africans playing for clubs in the top five European leagues.

Belgian Broos, who coached Cameroon to victory in the 2017 Cup of Nations, selected six forwards — four locals, one based in Egypt and another in Cyprus — in a squad of 23.

Percy Tau, who plays for Cairo-based African giants Al Ahly, was named the top Africa-based footballer at the annual CAF awards ceremony this month.

Khanyiso Mayo, a son of former South Africa forward Patrick Mayo, did not make the cut despite scoring consistently in the elite domestic league for several seasons.

Wide attacker Themba Zwane, 34, a long-time absentee from the national squad because Broos considered him too old, has been called up for the January 13-February 11 tournament.

South Africa will prepare in the western Cape university town of Stellenbosch, play a warm-up match against Lesotho in Pretoria on January 10, and fly to Abidjan the following day.


Goalkeepers: Ricardo Goss (SuperSport Utd), Veli Mothwa (AmaZulu), Ronwen Williams (Mamelodi Sundowns)

Defenders: Grant Kekana, Terrence Mashego, Aubrey Modiba, Khuliso Mudau, Mothobi Mvala (all Sundowns), Sydney Mobbie (Sekhukhune Utd), Nkosinathi Sibisi (Orlando Pirates), Siyanda Xulu (SuperSport)

Midfielders: Thapelo Maseko, Teboho Mokoena, Thapelo Morena (all Sundowns), Jayden Adams (Stellenbosch), Thabang Monare (Pirates), Sphephelo Sithole (Tondela/POR)

Forwards: Zakhele Lepasa, Evidence Makgopa (both Pirates), Oswin Appollis (Polokwane City), Mihlali Mayambela (Aris Limassol/CYP), Percy Tau (Al Ahly/EGY), Themba Zwane (Sundowns).

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