Khune trains for the first time since injury

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Things have improved in the Bafana Bafana camp two days before their must-win 2018 World Cup qualifier against Senegal. All 25 players are in camp and coach Stuart Baxter can start to work on his tactics.

Number one goalkeeper, Itumeleng Khune, was also able to train for the very first time earlier on Wednesday, despite a facial fracture.

South African football lovers waited with bathed breath to see whether Khune would be available for two crucial back-to-back matches against Senegal. This follows a freak accident between the Kaizer Chiefs shot stopper and Chippa United forward Kurt Lentjies in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.

Khune suffered a fractured cheek bone which had everyone worried, including Baxter.

However, Baxter says they are cautiously optimistic about Khune’s injury situation leading up to Friday’s match.

“Itu arrived this morning (Wednesday), he has done some coordination work to test his vision and he will be getting his mask and we will be testing him, diving to see if there’s any possibility at all . At the moment it’s impossible to say because his vision is not impaired greatly, but we don’t know how the mask is going to affect that. Again and we don’t know how he’s going to feel when he is banging himself on the ground”.

Baxter is also happy that FIFA have fully explained Bongani Zungu’s situation. Zungu will only miss the match in Polokwane, but will be available for the away leg in Dakar next Tuesday, despite having received a red card against Burkina Faso last month.

“Bongani Zungu we have got clarification from Fifa, he is available for the second game. It was one game starting with our home game so that’s finished and then he will be available for the second game”.

Veteran midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala is ready to help Bafana Bafana achieve their dream of going to Russia next year.

“I know the importance of this match, it is not important to Bafana Bafana only. I think it is important for us as South Africans to rally behind the national team and make sure that we do well here at home first and then four days later we also do well and qualify for the world cup. For me it is business as usual, I will do my best both on and off the field to help the team.”

Tshabalala remains the second most capped Bafana Bafana player ever. The 33 year-old midfielder, who has been in very good form for his club in recent months, has 90 caps under his belt.