4 September 2018 – Bafana Bafana have been rocked by injuries, which have led to withdrawals and replacements to players selected last week.
Three players have been withdrawn from the squad – Hlompho Kekana (thigh strain), Themba Zwane (toe) and Bongani Zungu (knee) will not be part of the squad that will face Libya in the crucial 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier scheduled for Saturday, 8 September 2018 at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
Kickoff is at 15h00.
Zwane has been replaced by Vincent Pule from Orlando Pirates, with Aubrey Modiba from Supersport coming in the place of Zungu, while Tiyani Mabunda has been called up to take the spot vacated by his Mamelodi Sundowns teammate Kekana.
The trio was expected to arrive in camp on Monday night (3 September) in Durban.
“We didn’t have a good time with players getting injured at the last minute, but when you have been in the game for a long time you realise that anything can happen. Is it a welcome that we wanted? Not at all, but we have to get over it quickly, adjust and adapt. Despite the withdrawals we have to find a way that we still have enough power in the tank to get three points. I have had my ten minutes of depression and now I am looking forward to working,” said Baxter, speaking to the media in Durban upon the squad’s arrival in the city.
Also doubtful for the match is France-based striker Lebo Mothiba who is suffering from a hamstring injury, while Dean Furman and Bradley Grobler are nursing slight knocks.
Bafana Bafana head coach Stuart Baxter is awaiting a scan report from France, with Furman and Bradley sitting out the first training session in Durban as a precaution.
“I will have to make a decision on Mothiba, and if he doesn’t make it I will call a local-based player as it will take forever to call up a player from outside the country. But the long and short of it is that I got a text from his club saying he is injured, so that’s where we are at the moment,” added Baxter.
The injuries to the players come at the back of the withdrawal of goalkeeper coach Andre Arendse who has a family commitment.
Baxter has replaced him with his son, Lee Baxter from Kaizer Chiefs.
“I will be massively both disappointed and surprised if there is any reaction whatsoever, because Andre pulls out at the very last month, and Lee is the most qualified goalkeeper coach in this country. He has worked with me in Turkey and at Supersport, he is the current of Itumeleng Khune and has also worked Ronwen Williams. He also knows half the squad in camp, and we don’t have time to go wondering around the country looking at CV’s. The only thing we were concerned about was, given their situation, Chiefs would release him or not, but they have been good enough to do that,” said the Bafana Bafana mentor.
“If anybody sees it as anything else, than the best and viable decision I have had to make, then I would be massively surprised. It’s not like I have run out and brought him in the minute he landed in South Africa. It’s not like I am roping him in just as an excuse to have someone I know sitting beside me on the bench. And people will always have opinions. I don’t expect it to be a decision that is attacked by people that understand football. It’s the best decision in a very difficult situation.
The will be the first ever meeting between South Africa and Libya.
The Mediterranean Knights are top of the table in Group E after their 5-1 win against the Seychelles in Tripoli. Bafana Bafana are second on goal difference, while Nigeria and the Seychelles are third and fourth respectively.
Meanwhile England-based midfielder Kamohelo Mokotjo has also joined his compatriots in Durban.
Updated BAFANA BAFANA SQUAD vs LIBYA IN DURBAN
|1.||Itumeleng KHUNE||Kaizer Chiefs FC (SA)|
|2.||Ronwen WILLIAMS||Supersport United FC (SA)|
|3.||Darren KEET||Bidvest Wits FC (SA|
|4.||Ramahlwe MPHAHLELE||Kaizer Chiefs FC (SA)|
|5.||Motjeka MADISHA||Mamelodi Sundowns FC (SA)|
|6.||Siyanda XULU||Maritzburg United FC (SA)|
|7.||Thulani HLATSHWAYO||Bidvest Wits FC (SA)|
|8.||Innocent MAELA||Orlando Pirates FC (SA)|
|9.||S’Fiso HLANTI||Bidvest Wits FC (SA)|
|10.||Buhle MKHWANAZI||Bidvest Wits FC (SA)|
|11.||Dean FURMAN||Supersport United FC (SA)|
|12.||Siphesihle NDLOVU||Maritzburg United FC (SA)|
|13.||TIYANI MABUNDA||MAMELODI SUNDOWNS FC (SA)|
|14.||AUBREY MODIBA||SUPERSPORT UNITED (SA)|
|15.||Teboho MOKOENA||Supersport United FC (SA)|
|16.||Kamohelo MOKOTJO||Brentford FC (England)|
|17.||Sibusiso VILAKAZI||Mamelodi Sundowns FC (SA)|
|18.||VINCENT PULE||ORLANDO PIRATES (SA)|
|19.||Keagan DOLLY||Montpellier FC (France)|
|20.||Percy TAU||Royal Union FC (Belgium)|
|21.||Lebo MOTHIBA||Lille FC (France)|
|22.||Bradley GROBLER||Supersport United FC (SA)|