Bafana Bafana are being dealt crippling blows ahead of their Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Ghana and Sudan, respectively.
COVID-19 restrictions, accompanied by player injuries, are a headache for Bafana’s technical team.
The South African senior football national team will play the two back-to-back AFCON qualifiers this week, but that could possibly be without many of their senior international players.
“Bradley Grobler had an injury and had to be pulled out. I had a conversation with SuperSport’s medical team and had to see the MRI scan that was done. He couldn’t make it. Kermit also had an ankle injury. we saw the MRI scan. Unfortunately, he couldn’t make it,” says the South African Football Association’s (Safa) chief medical officer, Dr Thulani Ngwenya.
Coach, Molefi Ntseki, is struggling to get overseas-based players in camp for the upcoming two matches, due to the strict traveling restrictions imposed by in the main European countries.
Ntseki had named nine overseas-based players when announcing the squad earlier this month.
“It is so sad because we were looking forward to having all our best players in the squad. Bongani Zungu is not coming, Dean Furman, Serero (Thulani) and Keagan (Dolly) are not coming. So, we are still negotiating with the clubs to see if they can release those players. If it is the issue of COVID in South Africa, then we need to have the players in Sudan. If the issue of COVID is Africa, then we won’t have those players for this camp,” he says.
The technical team will now be solely counting on the local-based players.
Vincent Pule, Thabang Monare, Lebohang Maboe, Mthobi Mvala, Thabo Nodada and Thabiso Kutumela, have been added into the Bafana Bafana team.
Bafana Bafana captain, Thulani Hlatshwayo, says qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations tournament, to be hosted by Cameroon, is their priority.
“It is very important for us to get the results because we don’t want to leave it to the end. For us it’s to make sure that we get the full results and go to Sudan knowing that we will qualify.”
Bafana’s goalkeeper, Ronwen Williams, says their target is winning all their matches.
“We said we wanna be No. 1 in the group. That’s the challenge we put in front of ourselves. Another thing we said we wanna win all our home games and so far so good, we got two out of two. Going into the Ghana match, we wanna keep that record going,” says Williams.
Bafana Bafana take on Ghana on Thursday evening from six o’clock, before travelling to Sudan for their match on Sunday.
Bafana Bafana hit by injuries and COVID-19 restrictions: